A COMING OF AGE MOVIE WITH ADDED CARP OBSESSION
BY SARA DARLING
The nineties might strike a chord for the music scene- acid house, punk, emo and northern soul were rife. but in industrial, working class Yorkshire, friendships take priority. And music is secondary to this close knit group of teenagers who star in the first movie by acclaimed theatre director Bill Buckhurst.
The film begins in a sleepy mining village just outside Doncaster, in the heatwave of 1994. Bored, skint, teenagers fill their long summer holiday with sibling rivalry, teenage dramas, crushes, betrayals and first love, around the decidedly unglamorous estate where they have grown up.
In keeping with the era, youths listlessly hang out on street corners, revving up motorbikes, blagging cigarettes and heavy petting in alleyways- whilst listening to music on cassette tapes. Parents on the other hand are equally apathetic socialising at the local Miners’ Welfare Club, where the highlight is making jokes about Tony Blair.
With a mis-matched group of friends, the story sways towards the character of Trevor (Tom Varey), who as one of the older members of the gang, is ready to leave the suffocating town after one last summer. His priority is looking after emotionally fragile Pogo (Esme Creed-Miles), who has a major crush on him, and is constantly on the verge of an anxiety attack, whilst his wayward sister Cassie (Daisy Edgar-Jones), has moved into his old room and is embracing her new freedom.
Geeky Malcolm (Angus Imrie) is besotted with Cassie, but she is only interested in bad boys, demonstrated in her passionate snogging sessions with Maurice (Abraham Lewis). As a coming of age film, the unrequited love establishes how fickle teenage romance is, and how easy it is to get your heart broken.
Away from the oppressive cement of the estate, the local woodland has a pond, which rumour has it, is the home of a giant carp, nicknamed Nessie. As a last ditch attempt to make something of his life in the area, he is determined to catch it once and for all before he leaves the town to search for work.
A film about fishing might not seem super exciting, but it’s the relationships which bind the town together that make it memorable. In order to leave his legacy, Trevor initiates an overnight mission to lure the fish on an overnight fishing expedition.
Tweenagers Shane and David, are also obsessed with snagging the carp- almost as much as Shane is hooked in spying on snogging couples, and are almost a comical aside to the drama. With a particularly poignant scene when randy Shane has stolen his mothers stockings and suspenders to wear (he was told anglers wore women's tights to keep warm) and almost gets rumbled by Maurice!
Pond Life will no doubt take you back to the nineties, and is a modern, nostalgic kitchen sink drama.
Watch it on Verve Pictures on DVD now.