03rd Jul2018

‘Winter Ridge’ Review

by Ryan Kershaw

Stars: Matt Hookings, Olwen Catherine Kelly, Hannah Waddingham, Michael McKell, Justin McDonald, Alan Ford, Ian Pirie, Noeleen Comiskey, Claudia Archer, Ella Road, Liana Harris | Written by Ross Owen Williams | Directed by Dom Lenoir

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Winter Ridge is rapidly becoming the little British movie that could! Having all ready picked up a bunch of awards on the circuit, The movie, its director Dom Lenoir, and cast are about to embark on a strong festival run through 2018 that will undoubtedly see the movie picking up more awards and critical acclaim… making the lads at British production company Camelot Films and up-and-coming powerhouse performer Matt Hookings, ones to watch.

Winter Ridge opens really strong with the harrowing sound of a car crash (props to the sound guy). You have no time to prepare for the story that is coming your way, instead the audience is just thrown in at the proverbial deep end. We are pulled in to a thrilling drama, as young detective Ryan Barnes (Matt Hookings) is simultaneously looking to find the man who ran his wife over leaving her in a coma, while also trying to solve a new case that has come across his desk. It would seem that there is a new killer in his beautiful picturesque town praying on the older members of the community. Who can Ryan trust in his search? Even better question can he keep it together long enough to get to the bottom of it all?

Dom Lenoir has done a truly remarkable job making Winter Ridge look and feel like your bigger mainstream movies on the miniscule budget they had. I do feel that the location used has a lot to do with this, it looks insanely gorgeous proving once again the UK has some of the best environments to be shooting in. Thankfully Dom and his cinematographer Joao da Silva expertly capture every detail making the film both visually gorgeous but somewhat menacing at times.

In the lead role, Matt Hookings puts in a great performance as the brooding detective that is willing to push the limits of the law to get to the truth. When you think about how Hookings was balancing carrying the movie as the lead, whilst also doing a ton of production duties behind the scenes, you have to commend how he was able to switch from lead to producer and still throw down his acting chops alongside the likes of Alan Ford and Hannah Waddingham.

Speaking of which, let’s quickly dive into the supporting players because the lads at Camelot bring the power when it comes to supporting roles. Alan Ford (Snatch, and a ton of others) is on fine form in this movie as always, his role may not be the biggest but in one scene particular he personifies what this movie is trying to do whilst daring this young talent (Hookings) to meet his level which, by the way, he does! Hannah Waddingham (Game of Thrones, Les Miserables) is on form as the town psychiatrist. Meanwhile Michael Mckell (Essex Vendetta, Who Needs Enemies, The Bill) rounds out the main players with a pretty understated but strong performance.

It’s safe to say I’m a fan of Winter Ridge. Dom Lenoir and Matt Hookings are really onto something with this partnership and I expect to see bigger and better things from both guys. They have the passion, talent and drive, and Winter Ridge proves this. While the movie is not without its faults, for an independent effort the finished product is polished, stylised, well acted, well written and, like I stated earlier, uses the most of its location.

If you get a chance to see Winter Ridge you should.

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