At times it (rightly) seems like the low budget British cinema scene is filled with nothing but horror movies and gangster flicks. However, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou’s Shopping Channels plays like a fresh breeze blowing through the usual genre pieces. It’s a 90s throwback, the type that the US used to make when Kevin Smith and Richard Linklater were the new kids on the filmmaking block (Chasing Amy and Before Sunrise spring to mind). Shopping Channels has that vibe, mixed with Spaced-style Edgar Wright tome. Those expecting Hollywood-style pyrotechnics will be disappointed as this is a lo-fi affair that focuses on script and character.
The film opens with housemates Mike (Jamie Satterthwaite) and Pete (Richard Summers-Calvert) recovering from a house party. They discover Maddie (Sara Jewell) on their sofa and soon Mike and Maddie take-off on a road-trip to Scotland. Sparks fly, witty comments are traded and romance blossoms.
Shopping Channels hits the spot. You rarely see a romantic comedy in the 21st Century and the genre has taken such a turn that something like this feels fresh. George Miles’ script has the the right amount of verve to keep things feeling energetic, while the small cast does more than could ever be expected from them. This is the type of film that can make careers if it’s seen by the right people.
Otsmane-Elhaou delivers a no-frills movie, the cinematography isn’t epic in scope but sometimes dialogue and acting is what’s needed to keep the audience engrossed. Admittedly the occasional scene runs a bit long and the occasional joke misses the mark, however Shopping Channels is worth checking out for those who like their low-key romantic comedies filled with fast-flowing repartee.
I’m not sure what the release plan is for Shopping Channels – but you should seek it out.