Sometimes All you can do is Admit you may have Been Wrong!!!
I am on record as saying that I fear the barrage of lockdown isolation zoom movies that are inevitability coming our way, I mean it stands to reason we haven’t been able to go anywhere, movie and tv sets have been shut down so of course people will jump onto Zoom and become the next Spielberg because what the hell else are they gonna do?. My fear though was that much like the movie industry moves in trends that this would become the trend and honestly I kinda just want to forget this period of history.
THEN Host came out a 50 minute Zoom style horror that freaking blew me away. You could say I was starting to warm to the idea. Then Phase came into my view, a QuaranComedy from an actor/comedian I had previously seen in Nightshooters and enjoyed, this man is Richard Sandling and it looked like he had rounded up a collection of his nearest and made good use of a shitty lockdown. I went into this one skeptical but also hopeful. Today we are checking out Phase.
Director: Richard Sandling Writer: Richard Sandling
Cast: Richard Sandling, Katie Pritchard, John Henry Falle, Stu Goldsmith, Sophie Cameron, Stephen Frost, Janet Prince
Rich/Ricardo/Richard (Sandling) has decided to use the lockdown to his benefit and is getting back into his Acting, Poetry and Musical side. On the day we meet him he is preparing for a “big” online presentation of his works. He spends the day Zooming his friends and family (much like we all have been) and having various conversations, people like his Mum and Dad, best friends Katie and Cass, somewhat estranged friend and influencer Chris Radar (Goldsmith) and more. Will his mum and dad ever take the virus serious? Why does his girlfriend have so many sex toys? Is his friend onto something and Aliens are on the way?.
First things first… Katie Pritchard is absolutely incredible here, what a revelation she was. The funny thing is almost every line of dialogue she had during her initial monologue was completely relatable to myself however I’m a husband with three kids so I best not say it out loud. There are some crazy good performances here but honesty Pritchard straight up steals the entire project for me and this is not a slight on anyone because everyone is great **Spoilers**. Perfect casting what a performance.
Sandling doesn’t make anything easy for himself here as the Lead, the Editor, the Director, the Camera Man and I guess just about everything. Considering we are in a lockdown and can’t do our normal day to day it’s pretty impressive he was able to get people into his concept and execute it as well as he has. I genuinely loved this! The dialogue is natural even when it delves into surreal super natural and I believed the chemistry on screen (which can’t be easy to do over Zoom).
It’s strange because while I really don’t want to take a snapshot of this current time, Richard Sandling has created a bearable one in the way he has picked up on the conversations people are having. The Anti Vaxers, The Clap for Carers and many other points of note then neatly woven an interesting clever script with plenty of laughs to keep you invested.
I was in from the moment his “Parents” come on the screen played by Stephen Frost and Janet Prince. If ever there was a way to pull your audience right into your world it’s with these two wonderful humans. John Henry Falle is simply wonderful as the conspiracy nut friend and the back and forth chat the two have is some of the most natural “Friend Speak” in a movie I’ve seen in years. You can feel a genuine undertone of worry for his mate but it absolutely doesn’t have to be said out loud. Stu Goldsmith embodies 90% of my lockdown experience of trying to get stuff done with a million and one distractions.
I think it’s pretty obvious that I enjoyed Phase, it gets in and does what it sets out to do and that is entertain you for an hour and a bit, it reminds you that we are all pretty much going through it right now and even though we can’t be together it doesn’t mean we can’t be “together”. Now there is a certain plot point to the movie I have not touched on and this is due to spoilers but I really want people to check this out and give it some mad love because this movie is a product of a stand up comedian/actor putting himself right out there. Loved it.
For me this is a solid 4 out of 5!!! Yes I had issues, for instance the last couple of minutes didn’t do much for me but I sort of liked what he was trying to do. Goldie Lookin Chain star Eggsy pops up and it’s kind of blink and you miss it which is a shame because I freaking love GLC. Honestly though British comedy needs to take a good long look at Katie Pritchard because she is a star in waiting and I can’t wait to see what Richard Sandling does going forward… I’m a fan!!!
CHECK OUT PHASE HERE: vimeo.com/ondemand/phase