Fans of Andrea Arnold (‘Fish Tank’, ‘Red Road’) might want to make a note of Scott Graham – his debut film suggests he’s got similar dark-hearted, risk-taking instincts. It’s a slice of social-realist drabness with a chilly Scandinavian feel. Chloe Pirrie stars as Shell, a 17-year-old who works in her dad’s garage in the Highlands. ‘Shell, like the petrol station?’ jokes a customer. She pulls a face: ‘No. Shell, like the beautiful looking thing in the sea.’ It’s so remote here that the winter can pass without a soul turning up for fuel.
Shell’s mum is long gone, and tension is bubbling with her dad Pete (Joseph Mawle). He’s lonely, and she’s constantly needling him with kisses – as if she wants to graduate from daughter to wife. Like I say, it’s dark-hearted. Shell and her dad have no words to say what’s going on, but the push and pull between them is creepily engrossing. Still, 'Shell’ never fully comes to life. And while Pirrie is brilliant, at 25, I didn’t buy her as a teenager.
Cast and crew
Iain de Caestecker