by Tim Evans|
Writer-director Alison Murray seeks to obtain a revenge of sorts on the phoney bohemian cults she was attracted to as an adolescent. Rising Hollywood star Ellen Page plays a neglected teenager who falls in with pocked-sized youth movement S.P.A.R.K. - Street People Armed With Radical Knowledge. Trundling in a campervan across Europe from Berlin to Portugal, she gradually realises human flaws are not necessarily wiped out living in a self-styled hippy utopia.
t was quite a stroke of luck to cast Hollywood flavour-of-the-month Ellen Page (Hardy Candy, Juno) in your feature debut.
Unfortunately, British director Alison Murray doesn't make the most of the seductive actress's strengths in a role that fizzles out long before the film does.
She plays Sherry, an insecure drifter who's been driven from her home by her well-meaning but maternally incompetent Earth Mother Rose (Wightman).
Picking up a flier in Camden Market (well, you do, don't you?), Sherry turns up in Berlin intrigued by alternative hipsters S.P.A.R.K. - Street People Armed With Radical Knowledge.
Hopping aboard their campervan, she's initially impressed by what appears to be caring, inclusive, tattooed democracy that also finds it in its heart to wean drug addicts off their chosen poison.
Heading from Germany to the Portuguese sun, it all seems a bohemian breeze...until Sherry begins to resent de facto leader Harry (Thal) forcefully pulling rank when no rank should exist.
Murray's experience of her own disillusionment with "alternative lifestyles" could have provide a rich source of material on which to draw.
However, the storyline goes awry with a Lord of the Flies-style scenario in a deserted farmhouse-come-squat outside Lisbon.
Sherry's hippy-drippy mom pitches up, inflaming an already fiery situation and certain characters break into self-conscious modern dance routines for no appearent reason.
Compelling for the first hour or so, by the end you've come to the conclusion they need a good wash, a hair cut and a proper job.