Directed, produced and written by Martin Wallace Small Creatures the first feature film for the director primarily of factual television.
The film follows a group of three schoolboys. Coggie (Michael Coventry) the main and most sympathetic character who finds himself increasingly unwillingly swept up in plans made by Ste (Tom Pauline) who has a natural inclination towards violence and takes great enjoyment out of being top dog in their little group. Macca (Paul Bamford) the third member follows Coggie around, taking part in their plans with a quickly decreasing enthusiasm.
When it all becomes too much for Coggie he retreats to his hideout in the woods, where we first find him. There he commits a small act of violence – the crushing of a wasp with a piece of glass– which soon pales into insignificance as the film continues. Though the clever use of sound, colour and close ups it becomes clear that Coggie is mentally in a troubled place even before he uses the same piece of glass to scratch at his own arm. A pattern than repeats later in the film with a nail.
It is probably wrong to be surprised when young actors do a great job and Small Creatures furthers this point with a strong and convincing young cast.
It also manages to stay away from doing exactly what you expect from this kind of film the ‘bright young boy growing up in less than ideal circumstances’ by leaving it relatively open ended. Very much true to life, playing out as more of a grim portrayal than an escapist or idealised view of everyday life and what may come of the unfortunate few who find themselves in the wrong company.
Director: Martin Wallace
Cast: Michael Coverntry, Paul Bamford, Tom Pauline, Terri Reddin, Jack Rgiby
Runtime: 91 min
Screening: Thursday 29 June 18.00 @ Fountain Park Cineworld