A few years ago I was able to spend some time in Northern England City of York. Instantly I was captivated by the overwhelming sense of history encapsulated within the city’s mystical cobblestone walls. Everywhere I turned there were layers of the city’s haunted past ready to be peeled back and explored. At the time of my visit Tim Burton was my obsession, so I couldn’t help but be inspired by the gothic architecture and medieval city planning. Scrambling to find my travel log for today’s blog I stumbled across a photograph taken of ‘Monk Bar’ the fortified 14th century city entrance , on the back of the picture I wrote “must be a film set” . Luckily, the local film makers were already wise to this and not blind to the city’s awesome potential as a film making utopia.
Completely produced in York, today’s film Crimefighters instantly took me back to my own experiences. Writer / Director Miles Watts is able to utilise the city’s natural visual aesthetic to bring us his second feature. Set within the city walls, action comedy Crimefighters is the tale of three friends, who trapped in the monotonous rhythm of daily life decide to take it upon themselves to rid the city of its ever increasing villainy. What ensues is a fable of tangled love tempered within the pursuit of vigilanty justice.
With a self-defined micro budget, Miles and his team have been able to steal the visual vehemency I took from the York experience. Miles has squeezed every last cent out of his limited budget and injected it into an ocular delight. At no point did I consider his budget whilst admiring his stunning shot construction, textured low-key lighting and deliberate editing, for me he was able to extract the production value of a much larger film, a credit to his ingenuity.
When considering a picture like Crimefighters it’s important to reflect on the toilsome circumstances in which the film is produced, a thinly spread budget is always going to leave holes. More attention to sound mixing and an occasional frame of over-zealous acting could have been given, but such laxity can be forgiven when you consider the drive and passion it would have taken to get this film off the ground, in the can and on the screens. On the flipside, lack of money can easily work in your favour, I enjoyed the cartoonish sound effects and the thumping sound track puts some of the biggest action blockbusters to shame.
Film Maker Robert Rodriguez should be any independent film makers numero uno when it comes to inspiration, the master of getting it done no matter what once said “Don't give me any money, don't give me any people, but give freedom, and I'll give you a movie that looks gigantic”. When I watch Miles's film this is the ethos I’m reminded of, I look forward to writing about him in the years to come