The opening of Julius Berg’s The Owners shows us the stark contrast of the lush, peaceful, countryside and the polluted, mechanical, noise of the city charcterised by the bleak, imprisoned, futureless Nathan (Ian Kenny – Solo: A Star Wars Story), Terry (Andrew Ellis – This Is England) and Gaz (Jake Curran – The Demon Headmaster, Primeval, Whitechapel) – three young men looking for that big score that will change their lives forever. All three want out of their mundane lives – Nathan dreams of a rich lavish lifestyle whilst Terry has dreams of owning his own kebab van. Gaz just seems to get off on the whole thing. Dragged along for the ride is Mary (Maisie Williams), Nathan’s girlfriend, who turned up to get her car back as the three observed the secluded Huggin’s resident. Soon she is dragged into the robbery!
The four initially run rampant across the empty manor grabbing what they can but everything ramps up a gear once Dr. Huggins (Sylvester McCoy) and his wife Ellen (Rita Tushingham – Bread, Neil Gaiman’s Likely Stories, No Strings) return home.
The main trio of Ian Kenny, Andrew Ellis, and Jake Curran provide the film with its core back bone. Each portrays a different element of council estate life with characteristics brought to the forefront that make the characters recognisable and relatable to the audience. Each could easily slide into a Shane Meadows project. Williams provide the conscience of the group trying to maintain her own values as those around her try to bend her to their way of thinking. The other major character in the film is the house itself, a claustrophic dark metaphor for the human souls that are existing in it – each step of exploration revealing a dark layer beneath it.
The Owners is based on the French graphic novel “Une Nuit De Pleine Lune” by Belgian artist Hermann and writer Yves H and their lays its main weakness. Whilst the plot is delivered expertly, the various twists and turns will be familar to those who enjoy the genre. It does not take away from the enjoyment of the film I was just hoping for that one extra twist I did not see coming.
Suspenseful, uncomfortable and enjoyable, The Others plays the cat and mouse angle strong and keeps the audience engaged from start to finish. It is a morality seesaw on which you need to try and stay on for ninety minutes without falling off.
Verdict: 7/10. Strong performances from all involved are slightly let down by a script that just needed that one more unseen twist or turn to push it over the edge into a higher stratosphere.