Kelly + Victor
Film Title: KELLY AND VICTOR
Director: Kieron Evans
Starring: Antonia Campbell Hughes, Julian Morris
Running Time: 95 min
Director Kieron Evans invests Merseyside with a glossy gloom as the youngsters embark on a transgressive affair, replete with life-threatening sex games and a destructive emotional pitch. The markers seem to disappear around them as the relationship enters a do-or-die phase: they can’t live with one another and they can’t live without.
Antonia Campbell Hughes and Julian Morris affect a compelling tango: this is precisely the kind of diseased meat on which Ireland’s most daring young actress seems to thrive. The characters and the actors are magnetic – at the expense of everything else in the film.
Evans’s screenplay, adapted from a 2002 novel by Niall Griffiths, struggles to make room for subplots. The illegalities that surround the titular pairing – drug addiction, prostitution – suggest that everyone is seeking a release that is just as extreme and dangerous as the one they feel together.
Ultimately, like Kelly and Victor, we’re too involved in the central coupling to care what happens elsewhere. The fierce intensity of this debut feature marks Evans out as one to watch. This is brave material: easy to admire but awfully hard to love.