Hector – Review

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail 0

Your archetypal Christmas movie will veer into the world of the supernatural. More often than not we meet Santa Claus himself, a few elves, or maybe even Clarence Odbody himself. But in Jake Gavin’s Hector, there’s no Santa, there’s no fireplace with stocking hovering above, nor are there gingerbread men spread out on a plate. But Christmas is not always about the gifts, the fables, it’s about the notion of family, the art of giving. This drama, though bleak in parts, is by no means a morbid account, it thrives in the notion of giving and acts of kindness – which is about as Christmassy as you can hope for.

Peter Mullan plays the eponymous protagonist; a homeless man living by the motorway for a decade, hitch-hiking his way between destinations, while always hoping to be in London by Christmas, where he spends the festive period at a shelter run by the solicitous care-worker Sara (Sarah Solemani). Though his reasons for entering the capital this year extend to family, as he wishes to reconnect with his brother at long last, who he hasn’t seen for a number of years. For Hector has recently had some health issues, and while keeping his news very close to his chest, it’s fair to assume the test results are not particularly favourable.

It’s intriguing to study the notion of mortality through a man with so little, materialistically speaking. So often when we see illness depicted in cinema, we study themes of family – how will the kids cope? Who will pay the mortgage? Of course Hector doesn’t have to concern himself with these ideas, but he’s a human being nonetheless, and it makes for fascinating stomping ground to strip back to basics and see how one’s own fate can affect you mentally, and how the fear of dying could potentially manifest within you. Gavin enhances the emotional elements by making this a truly immersive experience, as we get a feel for Hector’s baggage, both physically and metaphorically. You feel his pain, his unwashed hair, the infected cut on his forehead, his crutches, the wet socks thanks to the trainers with holes in them, and the heavy bag he carries, complete with a broken handle. Every step he takes, every new journey he ventures on, you feel that sense of discomfort emanating from the screen.

Recommended:  Twisters Review

Mullan is nothing short of superb, as given this is an intimate character-driven piece, and the camera lingers over our protagonist, it helps matters tremendously when you’ve got such an accomplished performer in the leading role. But for any actor to shine, they must have a good character to work with, and in this instance, that much is a given. Every homeless person you see has a story, and this is Hector’s – and you really don’t want to miss it.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail 0
This entry was posted in Reviews and tagged on by .

About Stefan Pape

Stefan Pape is a film critic and interviewer who spends most of his time in dark rooms, sipping on filter coffee and becoming perilously embroiled in the lives of others. He adores the work of Billy Wilder and Woody Allen, and won’t have a bad word said against Paul Giamatti.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.