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  • Gareth Crook

Bait (2019)

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

Don’t be fooled, this is shot in 4:3, black and white, locked off cameras, sound I suspect added in post, with scratches all over the film... in 2019. It’s an ode to a simpler world than one many of us are used to. It’s not a period piece, despite the aged aesthetic, cars are modern, mobile phones and lots of other little things that feel like touches, but are really just incidental. The pacing, the style, all harks back to British films of the 50s and 60s. Centred around a Cornish fishing port that’s seen it’s fortunes change in favour of tourism. Fisherman Martin is struggling with this change. His port side property now too valuable as he’s forced to sell to out of towners and moved inland. Martin is defiant though, refusing to give up his trade or change his life more than he’s forced to. Dwindling trade means he’s lost his boat, now scraping by with nets on the beach, offering slim pickings as the tide comes in. It’s a breath of fresh air compared to pretty much any other film recently made, flurry’s of shots lovingly put together with time to breath between snippets of brief dialogue. It’s like the bleak films of Leigh and Loach, social studies of the lower working class trying to survive. A pivotal sequence to end the second act, must run for a good 10 minutes with barely a word spoken. It’s magnificent! The cast hardly feel like actors at all, almost all in their first roles, you’d swear every single person in this is just themselves. Bait is a beautiful piece of work. A subtle punch on the shoulder sort of film. A masterclass of editing, storytelling, sound, cinematography, utter control.



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