The Dogme bandwagon rolls on with Gypo, the first British movie to sign up to the rigidly austere diktats laid down by Lars von Trier and his Danish chums a little over a decade ago. Predictably it’s a glum affair, from its rundown setting on the rainy Kent coast to its dour tale of racial prejudice against defenceless Czech immigrants. But it’s not all doom’n’gloom, with director Jan Dunn carefully incorporating a lesbian subplot and a three-pronged narrative that keeps the complete picture just out of reach.
The performances are strong too, if a little one-note – a side effect perhaps of having the cast improvise their characters from scratch, à la Mike Leigh. The back-to-basics movement may well still be going strong (see also Red Road), but, given Gypo’s already grim and grimy subject matter, you have to wonder whether a lo-fi look and feel is the most appropriate stylistic match.