One of the few films receiving its world premiere at this year's Edinburgh Film Festival was Jet Trash, directed by Charles Henri Belleville, and starring Robert Sheehan, Osy Ikhile, and Sofia Boutella, and here is my review.

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After facing some difficult times and problems in London, best-friends Lee (Robert Sheehan) and Sol (Osy Ikhile) have moved to India and have been living quiet, off-the-grid lives for some time now, hiding out by a beach. When the pair accidentally kill a holy cow (considered a big crime in India), the pair finds themselves in trouble with corrupt cops and gangsters and the local people. However, to make things worse, a mysterious girl Vix (Sofia Boutella), from Lee's past, comes looking for him, as does Marlowe (Craig Parkinson), a guy who wants revenge for something Lee and Sol did to him back in London, and things quickly go awry for the pair as they get themselves entangled in a big mess, with nowhere to go and no one to turn to.

The opening scene of Jet Trash takes place on a beach in India and it's a very colourful, saturated and just stylish looking shot. We're then introduced to a very carefree, witty Lee, played so energetically by a bouncy, bubbly Sheehan. The atmosphere is light and the film just has this fun energy and tone to it as Lee and Sol exchange some odd but funny banter. It's enjoyable and promises a good film. However, unfortunately, there's very little after that scene living up to that promise. Instead, what follows is an 80-something minute long film that is just lacklustre, convoluted and frankly painstaking to watch - making every wrong move it could possibly make every step of the way. It's majorly disappointing.
It's the acting and the charismatic and likable presence of Sheehan, Osy Ikhile and Sofia Boutella that make this film as bearable it is, in all honesty. The trio has such great, energetic chemistry - especially the former two, as our main best friends here. However, it's just a shame that their characters are so poorly realised and developed, not quite working for the talent of the leads. We don't care for them nor do we invest in their story, something so detrimental to the proceedings as this is a film that is driven solely by our investment in these characters. The writing, in general, is pretty mawkish, though; the narrative is just so bland and poor and all over the place. The film opts for a non-linear method of storytelling but the editing is too frenetic and uneven that it makes the story all too convoluted and confusing to follow. Something is happening one moment, then something else entirely is going on the next and it's just too messy and disjointed to make for a solid, cohesive and engaging story.

Director Charles Henri Belleville opts for the style over substance approach here because the film lacks any interesting characters or any real compelling edge, quickly becoming tedious and painstaking to watch. But, Belleville certainly seems like a capable director because the direction, for the most part, is fairly slick and the film is visually very crisp and stylish - the cinematography is colourful and intoxicating; a Christmas party scene is by far the best visual treat in this picture. Jet Trash is astutely-directed and visually beautiful but it would better as a music video than a feature film because, as well-made as it may be, its shortcomings are in how poorly written it is, making for a stylish picture that ultimately has no depth and substance to it. There are a couple of scenes that boast lots of energy but they are few between. Jet Trash is just not all that accomplished as a whole picture to make it succeed, unfortunately; there is some good promise and ability but that's about it.

VERDICT:
Jet Trash has its moments but they are few and far between; the film gets so caught up and lost in its own convoluted narrative, messy editing and overdone style that it ends up falling flat and feeling fairly tedious instead.

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About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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