14 December 2011 | deanmoriarty00
First time director nails ambitious vision
Edwin Boyd is a fast-paced roller coaster film that proves fact can indeed be stranger than fiction. It is filled with poignant, heartbreaking moments. Boyd longed to be a Hollywood star and he would no doubt have a joyous tear in his eye to see this beautiful portrait of his life on the big screen.
First-time filmmakers can certainly take notes and learn a thing or two from Nathan Morlando here. Morlando (also the screenwriter) executes this ambitious true story period piece on a low budget with such excellence you'd think he's been making films for years.
The flow and tone of the film don't scream "period piece" -- which is a great thing and a conscious decision. It feels modern and slick, for instance, with the hand-held camera, particularly during the bank robbery scenes, which really place you right in the middle of the action. The soundtrack is also genius. Morlando mixes up the old tunes of that era with the jolting sounds of modern bands that feel like they could be from another time and place in history (i.e. The Black Keys). It's totally unexpected and completely exciting while watching. Brilliant work.
The overall aesthetic look to the film is stunning. Shot on film, giving it warmth and life, it still has this cool grey almost newsreel type of look to it, only using flashy, vibrant colours where necessary; making them all the more gorgeous.
Scott Speedman plays the title role and he truly shines in the tricky part. He shows off tremendous range as an actor. From the inner frustration and sadness simmering just below the surface, to the eventual angry blow ups, to the fun-loving gentleman-thief dancing around the banks and flirting with tellers; Speedman shows us he is capable of great things.
The supporting cast is outstanding as well and they all play their parts just perfectly in showing off the different faces of Eddie Boyd (big praise to Morlando as well for fleshing out each character so well in the script in order to get deeper into the psyche of our lead character).
The interactions with the fellas in the Boyd gang are so exciting and fun to watch, especially during their prison breaks and bank robberies -- you're placed right in the middle of the action, feeling like the fifth member of their gang. The scenes with Eddie and his wife Doreen, played by Kelly Reilly are beautiful and poignant. Completely in love at first, their relationship becomes strained over the years due to Eddie's lifestyle decisions, despite the love for each other always being there. Brian Cox does a great job playing Eddie's father (a retired police officer), adding a sad tension and insight in their tattered father-son relationship.
Overall, Edwin Boyd is an extremely well-crafted film. Not just for a first-time director, but for any filmmaker; it's solid all the way around. Morlando handles the tricky, ambitious material of a real-life figure with total poise and precision. You'll laugh, you'll cry and you'll be on the edge of your seat.
Definitely consider checking out this film. I can't wait to see it again.