I Know You Know on DVD

Saturday, 29 May 2010 11:23

“I Know You Know” is a quintessentially British drama from Justin Kerrigan (“Human Traffic”). Set in Wales in 1988, it stars Robert Carlyle (Stargate Universe, “Trainspotting”) and newcomer Arron Fuller. Carlyle plays Charlie, a paranoid spy and devoted father who traverses the country on dangerous covert missions, dragging plucky son Jamie (Fuller) in tow.

Charlie has one last mission to fulfil before he can hang up his gun and the pair can settle down to a luxurious, idyllic life in America, a life without the stresses and strains associated with continual relocation. Up until now they have had to endure the disruption of tatty temporary homes, changing schools and having to make new friends. The assignment’s target is an omnipresent satellite TV corporation called Astrosat.

I Know You Know on DVDCharlie fears the firm is bringing in Big Brother-style surveillance and brain washing through the back door. As the mission intensifies and nears its conclusion, Charlie becomes increasingly antagonistic towards Astrosat, their personnel and property. He is convinced that the pair are being monitored, and his behaviour becomes ever more tense and unstable as he struggles under the pressure to keep the two of them safe.

Meanwhile, Jamie tries to settle in at his new school and as the new kid on the block, he is immediately picked out by the neighbourhood bullies. As he is forced to mature and stand up for himself, Jamie begins to worry that the rock-steady father he has always idolised might not quite be the man he thinks he is.

Kerrigan’s second picture in a decade is an intense and very moving character-driven drama. As the video diary special feature testifies, he went through a personal Hell whilst trying to get backing for the film, and heavily re-drafted script is full of poignant autobiographical details. We should be thankful that he stuck at it, as it really is a cracking production. Carlyle initially seems to be re-enacting one of his staple (but always gripping) psychopathic hard men, complete with 70s tache and leather jacket, but as the movie plays out his character develops many extra layers of emotional complexity.

Amazingly, against such stiff acting competition, new boy Fuller stands toe-to-toe with him, portraying an incredibly believable and genuine youngster who grows up before our very eyes, in physically and emotionally harsh conditions. The bond between father and son is the heart of the movie, and it shines through thanks to such brilliant acting, a taut script and economical direction.

Although it is set at the end of the 80s, the film feels more like a product of the 70s. The picture is grainy with slightly faded colours, and Carlyle’s costumes and distinctive moustache feel very much of the era of The Sweeney. The movie’s espionage component also feels like it is from another age, particularly from Charlie’s point of view, as he fears he is becoming obsolete and cannot compete in the face of the high-tech wizardry of Astrosat.

Guy Farley’s piano-led soundtrack supports the imagery nicely, and the short running time helps Kerrigan deliver a knock-out punch.

“I Know You Know” (2008) is out now on DVD, courtesy of Network Releasing, and is thoroughly recommended. Extras comprise a trailer and a unique, heart-felt director’s video diary, featuring short talking-head clips as Kerrigan updates us through the years on the trials and tribulations of getting the movie made. It is like a painful time-lapse film of a man losing his hair and possibly his sanity! The main feature is 75 minutes approx, certificate ‘15’ and retails for £15.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

 

 

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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