07th Dec2020

‘The Lost’ Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Kris Johnson, Terri Dwyer, David Partridge, Dana Rogoz, Farah Ahmed, Rebecca Calienda | Written and Directed by Peter Stylianou

“In the United Kingdom, an estimated 112,853 children are reported missing every year and around 3% of those missing disappear from their homes. This is a story about one of those children”

The story of Madeline McCann is one that has held the attention of the world since her disappearance. Everyone has an opinion on what happened, some believe the narrative given by the family and friends while others believe the countless conspiracies. There has been and undoubtedly will continue to be countless documentaries and mini-series on the case and well… it’s not going anywhere soon (rightly so by the way). One thing I think we can all agree on and I mean everyone, is that it is absolutely every parents worst nightmare.

Having three daughters of my own I find it real hard to watch anything even slightly related to the topic. Take Denis Villeneuve’s 2013 flick Prisoners, I’ve seen it once can’t bring myself to watch it again. One film I have been keeping my eye on though is The Lost (previously Bloodhound) a low budget British made movie starring Kris Johnson (Black Site). So let’s see if I can hold it together long enough to get through this because I’m fully expecting a lump in the throat…

Claire (Terri Dwyer) and Damon (David Partridge) Truman are a pretty well to do couple and tonight they are having a swanky party in their swanky home with some high falootin’ guests. Claire heads upstairs to check on their daughter Olivia, only to find she is missing. With a couple of weeks and no fresh leads DI Holloway (Kris Johnson) and his partner DI Costa (Farah Ahmed) are brought onto the case. Holloway, being renowned for his keen judge of character and bloodhound like personality, is determined to crack this one and thinks he has the prime suspect in his sights.

I guess the best place to start here would be with the performances and honestly pretty much everyone is doing a hell of a job. Let’s start with the parents… Terri Dwyer is putting in a very complex and layered performance here, as The Lost goes on you flip, a LOT, between feeling sorry for her and doubting her version of events. Much the same with David Partridge as the father but he has a couple of proper stand-out menacing scenes… Or are they? That’s one of the things I really liked about The Lost, your never overly sure what to take on face value.

Now for our detectives. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Kris Johnson and Farah Ahmed; with the latter of the two really trying to reign things in. Johnson is dropping one liners all over the place and while they don’t all hit the tone dead-on, the bulk of them do; and he is doing most of the heavy lifting and I really enjoyed the cheeky little glint in his eye as he is purposefully trying to antagonize his fellow actors, even going to the extent of eating in most scenes (I assume to come across more bolshy). Of course all of this character layering plays into the inevitable scenes running through to the end, when he absolutely nails it and smashes scene after scene. That right there is not an actor playing a father, it’s a father being a father!

Dana Rogoz, as the maid Mariam, comes dangerously close to stealing this movie from under everyone. She is truly captivating in the few scenes she is in and that delivery of “ask the fu**ing parents” was possibly THE delivery of the movie. That flips me to a bit of a negative in the performances and that was Rebecca Calienda, as sister Liz. I hate to say this but in the first 10 minutes of The Lost her drunk acting was pretty grating to me, which was frustrating because she is puts in a good performance later… plus the drunkenness, and her performance, wasn’t helped by some dodgy editing in the first ten minutes too. Though get past that opening and it’s smooth sailing the rest of the way.

In the intro I said The Lost was a low budget movie which I think may be overstating the obvious. This movie is very indie and pretty micro budget, but honestly it doesn’t suffer too badly because of that; it kinda just means it will probably play better in festivals and on DVD. The cinematography is pretty damn good considering we spend the bulk of the movie in one setting, there are some pretty neat close ups; the score is very nice in places and, as I have already said, the performances are compelling. Where The Lost really lives though is the story, it is totally compelling and while you don’t want to know what happened you HAVE to know! There are moments you will actually feel pretty distressed and horrified as the story takes you down a dark path but this is a sign of a job well done from the director, his cast and crew. You will still have this movie in your head days later. Trust me.

This has to be a recommend for me. If the story engages me and the performances compel me then I can forgive the small things and to be fair this movie does very few things wrong. I could just feel the scale and at times felt like I might be watching a drama that’s just a notch above ITV or BBC standards. This is not an insult though merely my observation. Also it makes me wonder what this team could do with a decent budget – if your execution can’t really be faulted on little money then I’m optimistic to see what you can do with a chunk of change! Budget hasn’t held them back in telling a hell of a story that left me contemplating for a few hours after. Terri Dwyer really got under my skin, never quite knowing how I should feel about her character. Rogoz and Partridge have some intense back and forth and Kris Johnson is everything you could want him to be in this role (just make sure you make cookies before he turns up).

**** 4/5

The Lost is set for release on December 15th 2020.

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