Reviews - Electricity
Reviewed By Ian Payne
Lily works in an amusement arcade, in a grim industrial northeast coast resort, where the environment of flashing lights and constant sound would seemingly be a problem for a girl suffering from severe epilepsy. Her boss, Al (played by Tom Georgeson) is her rock and father figure and indeed his familiar face and easy, on-screen confidence anchors the film from the start.
It is the death of Lily's estranged mother that is the catalyst for Lily's journey that attempts to bring her family back together. The legacy from the sale of her mother's house (whose squalor surpasses even that of the Mosedale house seen recently in Radiator) needs to be shared with brother Barry and long lost brother Mikey, her one fond memory of childhood.
Lily sets off for London to find Mikey and we are immediately anxious about this vulnerable girl's safety in the big city, a north-south divide recognised by the Keswick audience. Who can she trust? After befriending Rachel, a homeless girl, to her cost, is Mel a real Samaritan or a predator of a different kind? Is her brother worth the effort in finding him? Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for.
Woven through this narrative is Lily's epilepsy, something she has dealt with all her life. It comes suddenly, without warning and her body is covered in cuts, grazes and bruises from the resultant falls. Bryn Higgins superbly brings out the disorientation and mental anguish of her seizures by clever use of special effects, where once again he steers clear of over-elaboration.
A minor quibble would be that whilst you can take the girl off the catwalk, you can't take the catwalk off the girl. Agyness Deyn's tiny suitcase contained more outfits than an entire fashion show!
It is a tremendously brave performance by Agyness Deyn, who is on screen for the majority of the film. The close-up of her battered features after one particular episode is a million miles away from the catwalk she once ruled.
Knowing little about epilepsy, it was reassuring to receive a comment from an audience member who is a lead nurse for epilepsy, who said that this was a remarkably accurate portrayal of the condition.
In Bryn Higgins and Agyness Deyn, we have two rising stars of the British Film Industry – watch out for them.
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