By Emma Silverthorn @HouseOf_Gazelle
Feature-film A Dark Reflection was inspired by the research for a potential sequel to the 2007 documentaryWelcome Aboard Toxic Airlines and perhaps director Tristan Loraine should have stuck to documentaries. On a political level I feel strongly that this is an important film but artistically it left me cold. Personally I was glad to see the little known issue of the potential damage that organophosphates can cause exposed. It’s not a very sexy topic but the organophosphate tricresyl phosphate (TCP) should be better know as it’s a potentially very toxic substance that pilots in their line of work are regularly exposed to via leaked engine oil and it is this, which the film mainly focuses on. However also touched on is the issue of organophosphates being used in sheep dip by farmers and the potential nerve damage prolonged exposure to this substance could cause. My granddad was a farmer, (before he became an animal welfare advocate), and my mum had mentioned to me in the past that she felt there was a link between his diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease and his use of sheep dip in his earlier career. However, despite my personal hope that this issue could be exposed in an emotive, realistic and creatively interesting way A Dark Reflection does not deliver such things.
It’s not horrible, and there were parts were I was engaged and immersed, however some shoddy dialogue and the heavy-handedness of the political message let the film down. Most jarring for me was the characters’ sudden shifts in idiom. ‘How’s it hanging?’ asks the middle-class, middle-aged editor of local newspaper The Sussex Gazette, (played by Paula Antony-Barber), down the phone, apparently because he’s speaking to an Australian. Or elsewhere we have lead Helen Eastman’s (Georgina Sutcliffe) voice for some reason taking a shift from thirty-something, hard hitting investigative journalist to a character from a P.G. Wodehouse novel, as she describes someone as a ‘chip off the old block’.
The message here from ex-pilot and director/producer Tristan Loraine is righteous, however and unfortunately the execution is only so-so.
The film is on general release from Friday 27th February.