THE TOLL is director Ryan Andrew Hooper first feature film. This can often mean years of hard work, months of development and weeks of shooting. All to get to this moment. And what is this? A toll booth on the Pembrokeshire border.  The booth is operated by a man (Michael Smiley) who literally spends every day working. To add insult to injury, it is the quietest toll booth in Wales, heck the world. But this is not due to his desire to be rich, more that he is hiding from a criminal past. A criminal past that suddenly catches up with him in the car that wants to go through and its driver, Elton (Gary Beadle). Bodies will pile up. Blood will spill and maybe the local constabulary will be surprised by the results.

THE TOLL is a mixture of things, most of them very good. Its well directed, with an efficiently script from wording pro Matt Redd. Ably produced and wonderfully charismatically acted by the whole cast. Michael Smiley afore mentioned, Annes Elwy, Iwan Rheon and Paul Kaye all excel.  It is the sort of fully formed and fully functioning film that any director would and should be proud of. Yes, Ryan Andrew Hooper be proud. But for all of this it lacks something. Something that would have moved it from the place of another entertaining and otherwise forgettable film, to a masterpiece. The press notes actually detail why. It is not a Coen brothers film. It lacks their heart or their quarks. The film just lacks that thing which lifts it.


Signature Entertainment presents The Toll is on Amazon Prime Video 14th January

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