Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Uwantme2killhim? - Film Review

Starring: Jamie Blackley, Toby Regbo, Jaime Winstone and Joanna Froggart.

uwantme2killhim, toby regbo, jamie blackley, film reviewSynopsis:

Schoolboy Mark is arrested for stabbing fellow pupil John. A bright, popular student who shows promise on the football pitch, the question posed from the start is why? Remaining tight lipped as to his motives, DI Sarah Clayton delves into Mark's online life in a bid to put the case to bed.

Having developed a romantic relationship with a girl [Rachel] online, Mark is drawn into her world of domestic violence and stories of witness protection. The in hiding Rachel soon urges Mark to look after her bullied brother John - his classmate - in fear that she will soon no longer be around to protect him. What ensues is a series of increasingly alarming tales from the chat rooms, prompting acts of grief and revenge in a twisted story of false identity and manipulation.


Based on true events - the original article can be found here - set in the early 00's, with our now smug benefit of hindsight it's an unbelievable story. With our present knowledge of online 'stranger danger', and the consequent safeguards, I watched uwantme2killhim? with increasing incredulity.

Mark is naïve and gullible to a destructive extent. Absorbing every last word from the computer screen, he first becomes infatuated with Rachel, a girl he never physically meets, who unknown to Mark, coincidentally has a brother in his class. He readily accepts her pleas to befriend the meek and mild John, who then teeters on the edge of a slightly desperate attachment to Mark.

uwantme2killhim, film review, toby regbo, jamie blackley
The story veers into exaggerated territory - suicide, the criminal underworld, correspondence with MI5 and suspected terrorist plots. Again, all the more bizarre when regarded in light that this is in based on true events.

Blackley and Regbo are well cast in the roles of Mark and John. Blackley possesses a strong sense of self assuredness, played well against the character's gullible nature. 

Uwantme2killhim? plants the seeds of this almost fatal character flaw in an early scene, where Mark boasts of needing a single novel idea to get rich quick - the details he asserts are not important - it's the idea that matters. Thus we have our source of audience exasperation - Mark, for all his confidence and mild arrogance, is extraordinarily naïve.

 Details and credibility are blithely pushed aside in favour of taking the world at face value. 

 Regbo shines as the pallid John, ridiculed and bullied at school, with the vulnerability and fragility of a little boy lost. Visibly shrinking away from his tormentors as much as he exhibits attempts to impress the starkly opposite Mark. Regbo carefully crafts his performance to teeter between pathos and eerie desperation to please and be accepted, with later more sinister undertones, perfectly executed with machiavellian-esque eyes of glee.
Together Blackley and Regbo complement each other brilliantly, forging an almost brotherly affection at odds with the adage of familiarity breeding contempt. 

Uwantme2killhim? is a slow burner, though works surely towards what's a very twisted conclusion. It's not too hard to spot what's coming, and the latter stages of the film clearly dot about a few choice clues to guide us there.
uwantme2killhim, film review, toby regbo, jamie blackley

  Uwantme2killhim? is a worrying account of the power of the internet blurring the lines of reality and morality. Online our reality is whatever we want it to be. Uwantme2killhim? impresses on the unnerving ramifications of when this reality creeps into the offline world, with devastating effects.

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