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There Beneath the Blue Suburban Skies

Don't Worry About Me (2009)

The Times BFI 53rd London Film Festival

David Morrissey makes his directorial debut with an adaptation of stage play “The Pool,” effectively a double-hander exploring a developing relationship between Londoner David (James Brough) and Liverpudlian lass Tina (Helen Elizabeth) over the course of a single day in the city.

Venturing north to Liverpool on the pretext of returning a misplaced presentation to his one-night stand, David gets short shrift from his conquest’s boyfriend and ventures off into the night to drown his sorrows. Waking up in the street sans wallet, David attempts to win his fare home at the bookies but instead catches the eye of pretty assistant Tina who gives him a tip on the dogs. Buoyed by his good fortune, they go for coffee, and on a whim David persuades Tina to throw a sickie so they can spend the day together. As Tina gives David a guided tour of her hometown, they tentatively get to know each other, sharing a moment in time away from their real lives.

Mr. Morrissey’s love letter to his home city betrays its stage origins by being too small for the big screen; it’s very light — even a bit saccharine — despite attempts to give the story an edge by burdening the leads with difficult backgrounds (David’s mum has depression; and Tina looks after her brother who has Down syndrome). Tina comes off as a lonely soul; and Ms. Elizabeth does an admirable job given that she has to bounce off the decidedly wooden Mr. Brough, who portrays David as an unsympathetic, directionless womanizer (albeit with a heart). As a result, their burgeoning relationship just isn’t credible; and that’s a surprise given that the leads are also the co-writers.

Tonally, Mr. Morrissey is aiming to emulate the excellent BBC series “The Street,” but instead “Don’t Worry About Me” comes across as fluffy grit. The low budget (just 100,000 pounds) doesn’t exactly help matters, although Mr. Morrissey evidently has a good eye, filling the picture with some impressive vistas of the cityscape. Nevertheless, this is a slight debut — which is frustrating, as given a larger budget and a bigger story, the overriding impression is that Mr. Morrissey has more to offer.


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