Tuesday 27 July 2021

No. 58 (2021) THE TOLL July 20th.


Film No. 58 (2021)  July 20th.  6:30 PM  Cinema 1   LUNA,  Leederville. 

"Most people's lives could be considered unremarkable aside from one or two defining moments where people find out who they really are." (Toll Gate Man gives a short monologue, in voice over, introducing the film).

A Welsh contemporary, Spaghetti Western at your service here. A totally tongue in cheek high quality "student" experimental film about a quiet but violent toll gate officer whose past comes back to haunt him. Does he take flight or fight? Yep you guessed it!

When our hero is an un-named man it's the first sign that Clint Eastwood of A FIST FULL OF DOLLARS or PALE RIDER is at the forefront of director Ryan Andrew Hopper's mind. Toll-Gate-Man (Michael Smiley) lives a quiet life reading a book (hard-back) with no title. He has an alliance with police officer Catrin (Annes Elwy) and the story begins with her arrival, late at night, at the Toll Gate where TGM has a story to tell her. The film becomes the retelling of the story (flashback) behind the scene Catrin has walked through just prior to opening the door of The Toll Booth.

Is the key to this film's effectiveness wrapped in the little we know about the backstories behind the relationships the characters bring to the story? Maybe, but remember Hopper is pulling off a contemporary man-with-no-name western. Toll-Gate-Man is the antithesis of Eastwood's PALE RIDER, seeing as he's operated the toll for years. Where people are going or even why they are paying good money to do so is anyone's guess. It's all just a part of the parody. 

If you like your comedy dark, full of quirky regional U.K. humour with the odd laugh out loud moment, then THE TOLL will suit. This is not blockbuster parody, it's made on a shoestring. It's gaining traction because critics have warmed to it. And you'll warm to the triplets. A gang of sisters creating mayhem in a blitz of petty crime. A ballsy Gwyneth Keyworth plays all three sisters. Fresh, that is another description for THE TOLL. 9GUMS.  



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