Bravo. That one small word is the best way for me to describe "Between A Rock And A Hard Place" from Alastair Gourlay. One word says it all I guess. It's a funny thing to realize how much stock we put into a productions promotional material. Take the poster for example. Basic, simple and common. A movie poster that does the trick - but just that. Simple like one of the films leading men, Walter. Seemingly living the life of a reclusive but normal human being. A caring man who values his privacy. Yet like Walter, what's on the surface of this poster just doesn't represent the reality of the film. The reality is much, much more interesting. "Between A Rock And A Hard Place" was an immensely engaging movie. Within the first five minutes I realized this wasn't a simple and basic picture. From the opening scene involving some bullies, and the help of a stranger - straight through till that final confrontation within a beautiful grey background... this film was so much more than the poster promised. In a nutshell? Having taken the advise of a stranger, a young Neil kills another boy, claiming self defense. Fifteen years later he returns and to his surprise, finds Walter, the helpful stranger, still resides in the same place. Maybe feeling responsible for the outcome of his advice all those years ago, Walter offers Neil work. A way to get the young man back on the right track. Only things are not quite what they seem. Slowly we find out that Walter and Neil's life have been tangled together for longer than they thought. Ultimately... this is where the film takes it's title, putting Neil between a rock and a hard place.
Clearly, it's safe to say I really enjoyed this film. That includes the technical elements. This was a good idea on paper put to screen in a great way. The camera work was splendid, in a traditional sort of way, as was the lighting and - gasp - even the sound. No shaky found footage styled shots here. Just straight up old fashioned, traditional cinematography. Done well. If you happened to come across "Between A Rock And A Hard Place" on your favorite cable network, you wouldn't suspect it to be an indie, micro budget film. That's not saying a group of professional folks weren't involved in the production, or that it didn't have any money backing it. I'm just saying that this film looks a hell of a lot bigger than it probably was. As for the acting itself? Mainly we have our two leads, Clive Russell and Scott Reid. Did they nail it? Damn right they did. So much so you probably won't even notice that the entire film mainly consists of the two of them playing off one and other. Sticking to the basics of good acting, and a good story is where this film excels. Yet having such good work behind the lens as well, and some truly great locations, no doubt helped quite a bit.
Another interesting element was with the story playing with our thoughts on morality. We have some serious stuff here. Does doing bad things make someone a bad person? In my humble opinion, this was the real question this film asks. It's a damn good one. Worthy of having a movie built around it. I guess what I'm trying to say is this. "Between A Rock And A Hard Place" truly is the full package. A real treat not only for lovers of indie film, but movies in general. It's all here.
In the end all I have to say is thanks. To the cast and crew. It was an entertaining pleasure. Definitely recommended - obviously - and a well earned four and a half stars.