Directed by: Bryn Higgins | 92 minutes | drama, thriller | Actors: Christine Anderson, James Bolam, Madeleine Clark, Christian Cooke, Melanie Hill, Steven Hillman, Harry McEntire
First-time film director Bryn Higgins’ “Unconditional” is not an easy film to sit through. Challenging, the film does not shy away from anything and very strongly varying in emotion, the viewer is put to the test.
The story revolves around teenage twins Owen (starred by Harry McEntire) and Kristen (Madeleine Clark) who grow up in a lesser neighborhood in the North of England. The two have a day job looking after their disabled mother (Melanie Hill). They joke about when she finally dies, on the other hand they show their deep love for her.
And then suddenly the handsome financial advisor Liam (Christian Cooke) appears at the door. He comes to talk about a loan that Kristen had applied for. Right from the first moment, the twins are under the spell of the charismatic Liam. With his tight suits, his looks and his expensive car, he sets fire to the monotonous life of Owen and Kristen. Kristen in particular hopes that she will be “seen” by Liam, but Liam prefers her brother. He invites Owen for a night out: pool, beer and food. Things get a little weirder when Liam persuades Owen (“as a joke”) to dress as a woman and go out for dinner with him as a couple. This is followed by a visit to the beach, a fun fair visit with all the trimmings and even a visit to Liam’s parents.
While Owen still has doubts about the direction their relationship is taking, Liam puts increasing pressure on him. “Either you choose the gray existence you had, or you choose an existence with me. But then 100%, unconditionally. ” Liam even talks about marrying his “babe” Owen who he calls Kristen (just, just like that) and even wants to adopt children. When they check into a dilapidated hotel, in the bridal suite, Liam’s violent, psychotic side comes to the surface. Owen feels threatened and increasingly trapped in this morbid relationship. How much identity do you have to give up in order to finally feel “life” again? Meanwhile, his sister Kristen also tries to impress Liam in her own way. More and more often, she only does the honors at home, as Owen flees on his dates with Liam.
The film “Unconditional” revolves around a quest for all three main characters. They are all looking for warmth and love in their own way. And you sometimes find that in a strange place, or it manifests itself in deviant behavior. “Unconditional” is a hard lesson in trying to get the best out of something, trying to live your life in your own way against certain conventions. At any moment the developments seem to end in an explosion, but somehow director Higgins manages to navigate well between subtle and over-emotional. In the last half hour the viewer has to swallow every now and then. A bit of persistence to fully understand the hard learning process that those involved have to go through. As mentioned, not light food, but impressive in its remarkable shape and effect.