Borrowed Time Review

Borrowed Time is a heartwarming story about Kevin (Theo Barklem-Biggs), a young man who is down and out. With no where to go and no money to live on, Kevin has hit hard times. His sister, Becky (Juliet Oldfield) is no longer interested in helping her lazy, good for nothing brother as she has her own son to look after.

When Kevin becomes involved with a local drug dealer, Nigel (Warren Brown), most commonly known as ‘Ninja’ Nigel, things go from bad to worse. A drug drop that Nigel has set up for Kevin goes horribly wrong and the guy collecting the drugs takes them but leaves without giving Kevin any of the agreed money. This angers Nigel and he threatens Kevin’s life if the money is not returned to him. With no other reasonable ways to get out of the situation, Kevin’s friends persuade him to break into an elderly man’s house and rob him. What Kevin doesn’t realise is that he is breaking into Philip’s (Philip Davis) house, an old man with a strong liking for military weapons and stuff heads. From this point onwards, the two grow a strong bond and learn to respect each other, finding what was missing in both their lives.

In Jules Bishop’s debut film, she has created one of the most memorable pairs in recent British cinema with Kevin and Philip, bringing together two people who are in completely different parts of their lives and yet finding they have more in common than they would like to admit. They learn to bring out the best in each other, and whilst the film is quite dramatic and follows the archetypes of a social British drama, at it’s heart the film is a buddy comedy; it just takes a while for the characters to realise it so. Barklem-Biggs and Davis have a fascinating chemistry on screen, bouncing off each other throughout the film and playing on the careful nuances of their characters.

Both Kevin and Philip have been through rough times and whilst Philip, wary that he is, is adamant that he wants to live a solitary life alone, it is the appearance of Kevin that makes him realise that there is more to life. Borrowed Time could quite easily have fallen into the dangerous field of stereotypes, making all the characters satirical representations of what one reads about in newspapers and sees on daytime television and yet Bishop has created characters that are fully believable, three dimensional and in many ways makes the audience sympathise with them as they may see parts of themselves in the characters.

The film is also extremely funny, in dark moments when the audience are expecting the height of drama, something unexpected tends to happen. Two brilliant moments include the first meeting between Philip and Kevin; Philip slowly moves down the stairs in an electric chair with a huge gun pointing in Kevin’s direction. Really Kevin could have run, he could have fought with Philip but instead he waits and cowers in the corner because really he is innocent and is more a victim of what has happened to him rather than of his own foolish mistakes – he is intrinsically not a bad person. Another moment is when Nigel appears at the door of Becky’s. Kevin explains to her what has happened and whilst the silent threat of terror has built through Nigel’s beatings of Kevin, Becky has none of it and gives Nigel a taste of his own medicine – unexpected and yet oddly completely realistic.

Borrowed Time is a wonderful example of low budget, British filmmaking – something that British cinema has been constantly proud of. Everything very clearly comes together in the film, the tight script, the great location shooting and the brilliant acting of the cast. The film is a wonderfully uplifting tale of overcoming evil, shining a new light on the urban youth tale and highlight Jules Bishop as a talent to watch out for.

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