Writer/Director: Harry Macqueen
Starring: Harry Macqueen, Lori Campbell
Run Time: 78 Minutes
Synopsis: Hinterland is a beautifully honest exploration of an old relationship re-kindled in a new context.
HINTERLAND is the directorial debut feature for Harry Macqueen, in which he also stars alongside Lori Campbell in this impressive independent British drama.
I didn’t know what to expect with HINTERLAND and some indie projects that take an Instagram-esque-cinematography approach over substance lose your interest but, thankfully, this doesn’t fall in that category. Beautifully shot by Ben Hecking, the story focuses around Harvey (Macqueen) and his old friend Lola (Campbell) who meet up after a few years of losing contact as she’s been travelling the world. Upon picking Lola up, Harvey drives them out of London and down the coast to Cornwall cottage where, I’ve assumed, they’d spent their younger years together on family holidays but now the house is free, and it feels like a good time to get-away as they’re both searching for their ‘place’ in day-to-day life.
From the start the pace is set with long, stable shots of a grainy journey out of London, watching silhouettes and listening to their conversation from the back of the car as they chat about old times. The key here is that the talk isn’t overdone, it’s not a forced conversation and although it took me a while to work out whether they were related or just two friends meeting up, the relationship becomes clearer as the story develops.
Both Campbell and Macqueen are mercifully likeable characters and watchable, while Lola’s portrayed as being the more open and worldly of the pair, Harvey is outwardly in some form of control. Whether this is reflected because he’s organised their escape from London or whether it’s because he knows why he’s there is open for discussion but we’ll come back to that.
With obvious history and connection, both Harvey and Lola appear to have needed this trip before they even set off. In-between conversations of past memories and enjoying the open air and scenery, they both reveal little snippets of their existence together and are comfortable sharing anything. In my eyes, Harvey has always loved her in some form because she’s a spark in his life, even when they’ve never been (actually) together. There’s a wholly relevant discussion around a campfire later on in the film that stands to be the centre point of their entire vacation, whereas Lola shares stories of her confusion over why people settle down when there’s ‘so much still to see’ in the world, Harvey has found some kind of solace plodding through it all, even though he’d love someone to join him on the journey.
The beliefs raised are ones that audiences aged 25 and up would definitely either relate to or, at least, comprehend. We’re all always, well I am, questioning the balance between living your life and escaping the 9 to 5 but somewhere inside we start to think that the latter isn’t too bad for soul after all and to have that focus isn’t something you have to fight all the time. Humans are creatures of habit and so although new experiences are always exciting; if you lived like it forever you’d be searching for that thrill indefinitely.
HINTERLAND won’t give necessarily give you all the answers to the themes discussed but it’ll certainly make you question your hopes, dreams, desires and truths and when considering all those responses together, that’s what honest filmmaking should always want to achieve.