Pop promo directors' first features are, typically, visually rich films which are annoyingly lacking in substance - which makes Jamie Thraves' debut, The Low Down, all the more interesting. In place of colourful imagery and flashy editing, writer-director Thraves (probably best known for Radiohead's Just vid) opts to use a minimalist approach, which relies entirely on a tight script and solid acting.
A study of the laidback Frank's (Aidan Gillen) dealings with artist workmates, the film has a wry take on life, love and relationships, and derives much of its subtle humour from the seemingly improvised group scenes. The influence of John Cassavetes is obvious, with the camera moves and observational style reminiscent of the late master. But this also distracts, for while The Low Down looks and sounds about right, it just ain't the real thing. Still, while The Low Down is unashamedly arty and certainly an acquired taste, Thraves is nevertheless an exciting future prospect.