Destination: Dewsbury is an impressive low-budget indie that treads familiar ground but does so with energy, heart, and charm to spare.
You can check out our exclusive interview with the director of Destination: Dewsbury, Jack Spring, by clicking these words.
Since moving into my thirties I have noticed a strange phenomenon. Whenever I get together with a group of mates from either school or university all of us immediately become the people we were when we were kids. Fully grown men with families and jobs, with commitments that demand that we be responsible human beings (most of the time) suddenly regress to acting like teenagers again. There is that one mate who is a little bit cooler than the rest, the buffoon, the clever one, the one who always seems to be the butt of the joke. It never seems to matter what we choose to do with our lives or the people we have managed to become, in the company of those that knew us in our formative years we easily fall back into familiar behaviors. Indie comedy Destination: Dewsbury seems to have noticed this too.
The film follows the antics of a group of old school mates, who reunite in their 40’s after hearing the bad news that one of their group is terminally ill and wants to see them all before he passes away. What follows is a series of misadventures as the group of misfits run into all kinds of trouble including Russian gangsters, an ‘alternative brothel’ and some very literal toilet humor as they make their way to Dewsbury.
This is a low budget indie and first-time feature from director Jack Spring, and there is a lot to like about it. What is most striking is the really impressive visual style. Spring has clearly drawn inspiration from Edgar Wright and injects energy into mundane environments with his use of close ups, crash zooms and swish pans (all fancy camera tricks just in case you were wondering). This is all done to great effect and elevates this above most cheesy gross-out comedy.
Destination: Dewsbury has a lot in common with Wright’s The World’s End (minus the aliens), not just in the manner of its direction but also in the characters’ frustration at their unfulfilled potential and how their lives have turned out. This is a very British film with some obvious nods to comedy stalwarts The Inbetweeners and Bottom, with the requisite gross-out humor and bumbling lads-on-tour plot.
There is a surprise gear change early in the third act that draws surprising depth from the characters and an effective emotional heft; this is where the actors are at their most impressive and these scenes are done well. However, shortly after this is a slightly jarring plot point involving one of the Russian gangsters that slightly squanders some of the goodwill and is just a little misjudged.
Some of the acting is uneven at best; in particular during the opening act as we get to meet the characters. However, as we get to know the group a bit better the actors appear to feel more comfortable in their roles and there is a nice chemistry between the leads. The supporting cast, however, is uniformly wooden, but given that the majority of the cast have few screen credits between them this is far from unforgivable and all involved give it everything. In fact, the sense that this is a slightly unpolished passion project somehow adds to its appeal.
Destination: Dewsbury is a likable indie with enough charm to warrant it’s 90-minute run time. Much of the humor will be familiar to viewers of British comedy, it is executed with warmth, enthusiasm and quite a bit of charm without outstaying its welcome or overplaying its hand. I will be watching Jack Spring’s career with interest.
DESTINATION: DEWSBURY is released in select Showcase Cinemas from the 1st March. For more information, please head to https://www.