15th Sep2020

‘Break’ DVD Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Sam Gittins, Rutger Hauer, Luke Mably, David Yip, Jamie Forman, Adam Deacon, Sophie Stevens, Teri Dwyer | Written and Directed by Michael Elkin

I have been saying for a while now that the British independent film scene is ablaze with a plethora of talent… A veritable smorgasbord of directors, actors, DOPs, writers and producers are currently cutting their teeth out there as streaming and VOD make it way more accessible for us as viewers to find these works. Which has meant the creators are finding smarter ways of utilizing what they have at their disposal and how to make a small budget movie look like it belongs on the cinema wall along side whatever multi-hundred million dollar blockbuster is currently showing and you know whats happening? They are proving that they have way more style and so much more substance. It’s a damn good time to be a fan of British indie cinema.

Michael Elkin is easily one such talent coming out the gate with his first feature film Break, a movie 10 long years in the making but a filmmaker who wouldn’t compromise his vision and after finally having seen the flick I am bloody glad he didn’t. What an absolute gem.

Spencer Pryde (Sam Gittins) is one hell of a snooker player, but after a series of bad choices and crappy circumstances he has fallen in with a bad crew and spends his days selling drugs and committing petty crimes. That is until he meets Qiang (David Yip) a former champion of the sport turned coach who has the opportunity of a lifetime for Spencer. He is reluctant to take the leap but after one of his best mates dies, another is banged up and local gangster Ray (Rutger Hauer) pays off his debt meaning now he owes the man at the top of the pile, well it would seem Spencer is out of time, out of luck and needs to make a clean break if he is to turn his life around. But is it to late?

Straight up, Break is right up my street! If I have said it once, I have said it a million times, I am a huge fan of dialogue driven, full of heart, multi-layered and character-driven movies. Break puts a massive check in every one of those boxes. Sam Gittins, as Spencer Pryde, is one of the most believable and true young actors coming through the ranks. There is a raw intensity to his performance that hits on so many levels and you can tell that being surrounded by some top level talent and a nice meaty script to chew on has just elevated his game to the next plateau. Gittins has big budget leading man written all over his face.

Lets just dive into some of the talent for a second because we have the always dependable David Yip. If Gittins is the heart then Yip is absolutely the soul of this movie, putting in a well-rounded performance. Rutger Hauer – in what I believe is his final movie role – doesn’t have a massive deal to do but his presence is most definitely felt and lets be honest it is Rutger Hauer, he can do as he pleases. British stalwart Jamie Forman is in the mix which is always awesome to see, as I’m a big fan of Forman and here he is also reunited with his Bromley Boys co-star Adam Deacon, and again its always good to see Deacon on the screen. There’s also a couple of scenes with burly Joe Egan who not only gets a few lines but he goes toe-to-toe with Hauer.

Luke Mably as Terry Pryde (Spencer’s dad) is superb. Now what I will say is that this is the stuff that gets me. Having not had the greatest relationship with my father, when these roles are shown on screen they do have an effect BUT when these roles are portrayed truthfully and the tension between the two is palpable… well it hits pretty hard. These two worked great together and this never seemed like a b-plot type of deal. Elkin spent time making sure this story smacked as well as it did. Of course every movie needs a female love interest, although at times the chemistry was so good it felt like David Yip may have become the male love interest, hahaha!. Step into the fray Sophie Stevens who I will throw my hands up and admit I have not seen before but I will be keeping an eye now.

Writer/irector Michael Elkin has accomplished something pretty remarkable here for his first official outing. The cast he has drawn to this flick is a wonderful ensemble. Of course a lot is down to how good his script was that managed to lure the likes of Rutger Hauer. Not only that but we have Teri Dwyer (Hollyoaks alum) jumping in with both feet spinning a couple of plates as actress AND producer. The movie itself looks slick as hell with some gorgeous camera work and a couple of stealthy tracking shots that impressed me a LOT. No spoilers but the final moments of the tournament… keep an eye on how that is shot… Gorgeous. Oh and that soundtrack! DAMN I could add that to my Spotify playlist.

This is a snooker movie you never knew you needed in your life; but more than that this is a story about a young man set in his ways that tells us, it is never too late to make those needed changes without clubbing you over the head with ropey cliched nonsense. Break respects it viewer and commands your respect in return.

****½  4.5/5

Break is out now on DVD and VOD.

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