City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Hallam Foe Opens Edinburgh Film Festival


By Edinburghs Festivals - Posted on 15 August 2007

The Edinburgh International Film Festival kicks off tonight with the screening of Hallam Foe. You couldn't ask for a more fitting curtain-raiser for the fest - an Edinburgh-set film, for an Edinburgh festival. The film has some of the darkness of Mackenzie's much-lauded Young Adam, which opened the 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival, but it's also got plenty of laughs and a wicked soundtrack (including Franz Ferdinand) which keeps the film flowing along easily.

Hallam Foe tells the story of a messed-up, teenage voyeur with an oedipal complex of sorts. His real mother is dead and he hates his step mother. When Hallam is forced by familial relations to quit the familial pile for the big lights of Edinburgh, he spots a woman in the street who looks just like his real mum and falls for her immediately. Except in Hallam's way that means following her and spying on her from roof tops and his stake-out in the clock tower of the Balmoral.

Jamie Bell shows great versatility in a tough role - a pervert. You wouldn't be able to tell in the film that Bell's not Scottish - he's originally from
Stockton (near Newcastle) - he does a fine Scottish accent. It sounds like a
soft Ewan McGregor. Sophia Myles proves a classy leading lady and there's some rewarding smaller roles in particular Ewan Bremner as a hotel porter. Edinburgh comes off nicely with lots of shots of the Old Town skyline.

Director David Mackenzie and author Peter Jinks, whose
semi-autobiographical first novel the film is based on, are old
friends
. So I may have a bias, but the early reviews from the Berlin
Film Festival (Variety, BBC) seem to agree.

Surprisingly, for a city steeped in history and culture, there are only a few great Edinburgh films: Trainspotting and Shallow Grave (although the producers made a point of stating the film was shot in Glasgow even though it was set in Edinburgh) are the obvious ones. Maybe we'll be adding Hallam Foe to the list? This is the UK premiere of Hallam Foe - all of Dave's films have had their UK premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival - so we'll soon know.

More at the Hallam Foe blog.