D. James Newton directs this film that is filled with many different ideas but doesn’t come together coherently to keep the audience interested.
What would you do if you found out you only had two hours to live? That’s the dilemma facing Tim (Harry Jarvis) after he and his friends Alf (Alhaji Fofana) and Vic (Ella-Rae Smith) stumble across a machine that tells the user how long they have to live. What then follows is Tim trying to complete items on a bucket list (written on a bucket for added authenticity) before facing his fate.
Unfortunately, Roland Moore’s script is extremely poor and doesn’t know whether to take itself seriously or it is mocking the whole idea of the story in the first place, blending silly comical moments with moments of genuine poignancy that can make the film’s intention unclear. It is not helped by the over the top silliness of the adult characters, in particular the incompetent journalists Tooley and Graves whose attempts to catch the kids get more ridiculous. None of the ‘villains’ seem to have much of a purpose or cause they are fighting for to give much depth to the story.
However, the frustrating thing is there is certainly potential within the film, not least D.James Newton’s (making his directorial debut) slick and stylish direction that manages to draw out strong performances from the younger members of the cast, all of whom do their best with the script.
In particular, Harry Jarvis as Tim and Ella-Rae Smith as Vic deliver wonderfully mature performances as their characters realise the seriousness of the situation, while Alhaji Fofana offers great support as the loyal Alf.
2:hrs is at its strongest when it concentrates on the relationship element of the story – the scene in which Shona (Fabienne Piolini-Castle) is standing in front of her school reading her poem with the help of Tim is a lovely moment as is when Ellie encourages Tim to talk about his dad as much as possible.
But despite this, the film lacks urgency, excitement and purpose to make this a truly engaging film to watch and despite Newton’s excellent direction the flaws in the story are huge. A real shame when there is so much talent in one film – but the writing lets it down badly.
By Emma Clarendon
2:hrs is released in the UK on VOD on the 30th July.