• Joshua Buck

Bait (2019) Review

Martin is a fisherman without a boat, his brother Steven having re-purposed it as a tourist tripper. With their childhood home now a get-away for London money, Martin is displaced to the estate above the harbour.

I was sceptical of this film as I didn’t want to compare it to The Lighthouse which I absolutely loved and was naturally more sceptical when I heard the BFI were doing a double screening or Bait and The Lighthouse. I see why these films were played next to each other as the both have similar tones. I have done a review of The Lighthouse so feel free to go check it after this one.

With Bait the narrative I believed followed a very Hollywood formula with a circular narrative. The plot shows a glimpse near the end and cuts back to earlier similarly to the opening of Bohemian Rhapsody. However, this film diverts from the normal narrative of Hollywood. It does this that when scenes are happening it shows glimpses of what seems like the different parts of the story. This kept me on the edge of my seat and a narrative choice I really enjoyed. There was an element of the narrative that I didn’t like though, and that was the dialogue. The dialogue felt a bit blunt but at the same time only delivered what information was necessary. It felt like it made the scenes a bit slower and made me feel like I had to be patient for the first half an hour of the movie.

The cinematography of this movie is a style I have never seen before, call me uneducated or whatever but I have not seen a movie that looks like this. The number of close ups to tell intricate details really makes it nice to see on the screen that expands on the tightness of the world that they are in. This movie was shot on a 16mm film stock and it really does produce some beautiful black and white images.

Once I was patient and got through the first 30 minutes and adjusted to the pace of the movie and understood the world in which it was in, I found this movie really enjoyable and I wanted to see the end. I eventually began to really understand what was going on in this movie and it kept me on my toes and turned into a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

This film represents what life is like on the coast showing the differences between the locals that have been there their whole lives and then the difference of Londoners that come to the town for their second homes on the holidays. It shows the struggle of a town that with the conflicting ideologies of tourism and holding on to what the town used to be like creates some great conflict.

One of the things I didn’t like with this movie was the ending, it was all rounded of nicely with the character arcs completed I just didn’t like the final few shots as I felt it ended a bit abruptly.

To conclude, I think this movie is good but for me sometimes falls a bit flat and might take more of an effort to watch over what you might normally watch as a Hollywood movie. But don’t let this deter you from not watching it as it is immensely rewarding and is a good film to watch. I look forward to what the director Mark Jenkins makes next.

Overall, I rate this movie 4/5.

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