So far in 2011 British independent films are doing rather well, with recent hits such as The Guard and forthcoming crime/horror, Kill List, receiving critical acclaim, it's therefore only right to take note of other such efforts, albeit it on a smaller scale. Northern based writer/director, Phil Hawkins, proves that you need neither excessive budgets, nor an extensive shooting schedule to make a good feature film. The award winning, Being Sold, was filmed over a mere 48-hour period and is quite an achievement considering its 77-minute running time.
The story begins as a news crew pound the front door of unemployed and hung-over, John (Christopher Dane), who, in an inebriated state the night previous, places himself for sale on an online auction site. As the media and public gather, his problems are exacerbated by disgruntled wife, Lara (Eva Pope), as she pressures him to end the auction- and with it the debacle that is taking place on their lawn. The appealing option to John is to allow the bidding to play out in the hope of cashing in on his story and subsequent fame. This dilemma acts as a focal point, as does the fickle nature of society and indeed, the media that are hell bent on a scoop, as we are overtly exposed to the ruthless nature of said types, in the form of attractive reporter, Maia (Jessica Blake).
John's slobbish best friend, Chris (Lee Boardman), prove his worth as he provides a bulk of the laughs, as he effortlessly steals the scenes he's in, with a friendship reminiscent of Nick Frost and Simon Pegg in Shaun of the Dead. Other support hits the comedic mark in the shape of TV's Roy Walker as a Professor of, ahem, garbage, as a host of names make up the list, including Lesley Joseph, Terry Christian and Gordon Burns.
The story moves with momentum, only slowing on occasion during lengthy dialogue, until a pleasant twist concludes the proceedings. It makes for an interesting watch, as it delivers a message that 15-minutes of fame is precisely that, as an obsession for 'celebrity' and reality TV has warped the fragile minds of the masses.
Being Sold is well made, including a sharp edit and articulate direction; the film reads as a compelling social commentary and entertains simultaneously with a nicely devised script. The serious, mixed with the light-hearted works well; we see some genuine funny moments nicely dotted throughout. An impressive cast with an even more impressive shooting schedule certainly makes this an accomplished indie film worth seeing.