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Black Mountain Poets (2016)

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A shambolic exercise in shaggy dog poetry, or something. Writer/director Jamie Adams had an idea, got an ensemble together and they semi-improvised the scenes over five days in the Black Mountains of Wales. This, by the way, has nothing to do with the actual Black Mountain poets in the US, in case you thought you had stumbled onto an artistic exploration of experimental writers. Two con artist sisters, Alice Lowe and Dolly Wells, narrowly escape the clutches of the law trying to steal a JCB and make off in a stolen car which runs out of petrol. Lost in the middle of Wales they steal a car belonging to the Wilding Sisters, a pair of poets on their way to a poetry retreat – and pretend to be them. Lisa (Lowe) falls for earnest Richard (Tom Cullen) whose ex Louisa (Rosa Robson) shows up unimpressed. Things take a turn when they’re obliged to do outdoor pursuits and go camping and Richard falls for Claire (Wells). (And if you think that’s unbelievable, I narrowly avoided one such writing retreat which forced participants to climb up a waterfall and then dive in – and yes, someone fractured their skull and neck on the rocks below …) Then there’s a pretty funny poem-off with the police dropping by. All the while the real Wildings are wondering why nobody has come to rescue them … Pretty silly and misses its supposed targets and sometimes feels as long as the five days it took to make this 82-minute effort. Mostly daft fun and it’s almost refreshing to see nature take a hold of these neurotic loser thirtysomethings who miss their late dad to the point where Lisa wants to put pen to paper and read out more than a Tesco receipt or the card her dead father wrote her twenty years ago. Harmless, just as long as nobody got hurt putting up those tents.

About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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