Complete A-Z list

Just Jim


Stars: Emile Hirsch, Craig Roberts, Sai Bennett, Aneirin Hughes, Nia Roberts, Claire Cage, Mark Lewis Jones, Charlotte Randall

Director: Craig Roberts

A very odd little piece, directed by Craig Roberts, the boy from Submarine. The set-up is conventional. Jim (Roberts) is a friendless 17-year-old in a Welsh border town, unmercifully bullied at school: his only pastimes are playing Nintendo games at home, and sitting in the empty local cinema watching the same, ghoulish black-and-white thriller over and again.

No one comes to his grand birthday party, and his parents (Hughes, Nia Roberts) even get his age wrong on the celebratory banner. From here on, however, the film gets darker and more surreal by the minute.

Enter the Mephistophelean Dean (Hirsch), supposedly moved in next door, whose clothes do indeed resemble those of James Dean; and he has plans to transform Jim from clunky to cool in the eyes of pink-haired, weed-puffing Jackie (Randall), the girl he fancies.

By driving back the other runners with a gun, Dean enables Jim to win the school cross-country cup, gets him to have his ears pierced, combs his hair upwards, buys him a cool red jacket and lets him drive his own cool red car.

But there's a come-uppance in store, both for Jim and for Dean.

How much of this is real and how much a product of Jim's fevered, soon weed-fuelled imagination is left to the audience to decide. But the film is beautifully shot by Richard Stoddard, and young Roberts, who bears a passing resemblance to Jamie Bell and is still only 24, is clearly a filmmaker with ambitions, even if his ideas can do with a good deal of crystallisation yet.

(There is no copyright date on this film)

David Quinlan

Wales 2015. UK Distributor: Soda. Colour (unspecified).
83 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 21 Sep 2015