Get us in your inbox

Uncle David

  • Film
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Ashley Ryder and David Hoyle.JPG
Uncle David

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars
Andrew Haigh’s bold recent feature ‘Weekend’ demonstrated that a small crew working on a shoestring could tell a powerful story about a queer duo’s brief but intense period together. Now the film’s distributor, Peccadillo, has just brought out another feature that matches that description but is a very different beast. Produced by the Avant Garde Alliance – director-star David Hoyle, co-star Ashley Ryder, directors Gary Reich and Mike Nicholls – ‘Uncle David’ casts Hoyle and Ryder as an uncle and nephew on a queasy and increasingly disturbing trip to the bleakly beautiful, weirdly washed-out Isle of Sheppey.

It’s also a kind of dramatic working-through of the compelling powder-keg of ideas that fuels Hoyle’s legendary live performance work, in which scathingly articulate disaffection with the hypocritical constraints of bourgeois capitalist society flow alongside the alternately righteous and narcissistic demands of a ferocious ego. If ‘Weekend’ humbly and movingly proposed that a couple of days can be sufficient time to form a meaningful relationship, ‘Uncle David’ insists, with gallows humour and creeping dread, on utter liberty or annihilation.

The DVD benefits from some choice extras. Three preparatory shorts show the development of the characters of David and Ashley. As the nature of their interpersonal dynamic moves from text to subtext, we see some moments that are familiar from the film (a phone call, a dog basket) and more outré escapades too (homemade dildos, Champagne flutes of piss). And, on the commentary track, Hoyle, Ryder, Reich and Nicholls detail the extraordinary economies and fortuities of the shoot: scenes were shot once in sequence over four days with improvised dialogue, two cameras and one light; they contended with swine flu, lugworms and doggers and were gifted with all manner of lucky finds. Nice notes too on production design: ‘citrus colours,’ Hoyle notes, ‘always bring out my teeth…’ An ideal stocking-filler, obviously, and good preparation for the forthcoming stage musical version. No, really.
Written by Ben Walters

Release Details

  • Rated:18
  • Duration:95 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:David Hoyle, Gary Reich, Mike Nicholls (II)
  • Screenwriter:David Hoyle
  • Cast:
    • David Hoyle
You may also like
You may also like