Complete A-Z list

Black Mountain Poets


Stars: Alice Lowe, Dolly Wells, Tom Cullen, Rosa Robson, Richard Elis, Laura Patch

Director: Jamie Adams

Writer-director Adams follows his feature film debut Benny & Jolene with, in his words, “a feature relationship comedy shot in five days for very little money and all improvised from a scene by scene outline”.

So what is the admittedly cheap result?

When caught trying to steal a JCB digger (why?) confidence trickster sisters Alice Lowe and Dolly Wells (“We con people. That’s what we’re good at”) escape by stealing a car belonging to the celebrated beat poets The Wilding Sisters and, driven by Adams, decide to pose as the sisters and attend the Poet’s Poetry Society retreat in the depths of Wales’ Black Mountains as hallowed guest stars.

There, improbably accepted without comment by the collection of walking, talking clichés, the poseurs catalyse jealousy between rugged versifier Tom Cullen and his girlfriend, indulge in puerile, instantly created poetry (including a would-be amusing reading aloud modern style of a Tesco receipt as verse that had all the comic content of road kill), have a go at tai chi and go camping (in both senses of the word) in the depths of the eponymous mountains.

The players work hard but, given their clichéd, patronised characters and the thinness of the material with which they are lumbered, all their hard hard work ultimately adds up to a less-than-compelling and more condescending than genuinely funny whole (think Carry on Camping revamped for cinema pseuds and aspirant intellectuals).

“The Movie is about taking time out from your everyday life to experience something new and thus reflect on your life, where you’ve come from, where you are, and where you’re headed”.

So states Adams. Sadly I ended up resenting the time taken from my everyday life to experience something that cried out loud and often for a fast-forward button.

Of course I am well aware that criticising such a well-intentioned, auteur-driven low-budget movie is equivalent to kicking a beloved family pet that comes to you wagging its tail and with uncritical love in its eyes.

So I shall be making a donation to the RSPCA in an attempt to assuage my conscience.

Alan Frank

UK 2015. UK Distributor: Metrodome. Colour.
85 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

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

Review date: 01 Apr 2016