Addict (2013) Review
Addict (2013) is the feature-length debut from independent Director Geoff Harmer of Fraught Productions. Since circulating the festivals in 2013, Addict earned itself a few awards including a winning 4 star award at the British International Amateur Film Festival and a ‘Best Actor’ nomination for the film’s leading man Paul Anthony. Addict has also achieved success across the globe winning the award of excellence at the Indie Fest in the USA and was also screened in Germany’s After Dark Horror Film Festival and at the Full Length Festival Kinoteatr Projekt in Poland.
The film is a character study focusing on unhinged individual David Pettigrew (Paul Anthony). On the surface, David is a mild-mannered businessman working on a water filter pyramid scheme but he shields a sinister interior. Harbouring an unhealthy infatuation with his married colleague Kim (Stacy Hart), David turns to his addictions to cope with his unrequited crush. Smoking, drinking and prostitutes lead David down a dark route which soon turns murderous.
While the narrative could be something out of an Irvine Welsh novel and sounds quite straightforward it does incorporate some complex undertones that make’s the film extremely compelling viewing. The performances come across as naturalistic resulting in strong characterisation particularly from Paul Anthony as the tortured David and Jenny Mitchell as Sarah, a friendly young woman with an infatuation of her own as she covers for Kim’s maternity leave at David’s company.
Aside from an intriguing plot, what really set’s Addict apart from many films that emerge from the independent scene is its creative visuals that greatly impacts the story. The cinematography by Carl Austin and Geoff Harmer is reminiscent of Ingmar Bergman’s style providing a bleakness that really gets under the viewer’s skin. Addict is shot entirely in black and white, this compliments its indie feel but at the same time is an incredibly stylistic choice. There’s a great use of shadows as well as the contrast between light and dark which brings out the film’s grim tone. The sound design is impressive and the score by Andy Bastow and Joe Crow gives a chilling effect.
Ultimately, Addict is uncomfortable viewing. David’s character’s descent into psychosis is both disturbing and awkward as we see him engage in despicable acts as he deals with his own incompetence. That said, Harmer and co-writer Mark Brennan inject in some suitable dark humour into the screenplay which works well. There’s also some experimentation with the found-footage trend, featuring video diaries conducted by David, giving insights into his warped mind, allowing us to fully engage with the character. Addict is a product of modern day society with references to the rescission, facebook and youtube which are all influential on David to a degree. Without revealing too much, the ending really packs a punch with a shocking twist that comes out of left field but is most satisfying.
For a debut feature, Addict is impressive. Self-funded on a low-budget, Harmer and his company have achieved a well-crafted piece of independent cinema, demonstrating that a powerful and engaging film can be accomplished if you work hard and use the resources available to you which is very inspiring.
A dark, psychological thriller and art film with elements of horror, once Addict gets under the skin it’s a difficult one to shake off and is left to be comprehended. As one of the most dynamic genre films I’ve had the opportunity to see in a long while, I can highly recommend Addict. It’s guaranteed that this is what it title promises, addictive viewing.
For more on Fraught Productions and their other projects, I advise you to visit their website: http://www.fraught.net/
Hayley Alice Roberts.