wed 24/07/2024

The Runaways review - a road trip worth taking | reviews, news & interviews

The Runaways review - a road trip worth taking

The Runaways review - a road trip worth taking

Charming British flick carried by three children's bravura performances

Molly Windsor, Rhys Connah and Macy Shackleton in The Runaways

Oh how British indies love a road trip. Trekking across the rugged landscape, meeting a colourful cast of characters, realising it’s not the destination but the journey.

It takes something special to stand out from the pack. The Runaways, debut feature from Richard Heap, has that something special.

Reith (Mark Addy, pictured below with Molly Windsor) and his three kids Angie, Ben and Polly run the donkey rides at Whitby beach. It’s a hardy life, cramped into a hut with a pittance to their name, but they have each other. This existence is turned on its head when Reith’s brother Bryce returns from a long stint in prison. As tensions rise, the children decide to leave across the moors to find their estranged mother, with two donkeys in tow and a furious uncle not far behind.Mark Addy and Molly Windsor in The RunawaysCharacter stories live and die by their leads, and Heap must’ve been mad to rely on three children to carry the film. Mad, or supremely confident in his casting director. The three actors, Molly Windsor, Rhys Connah and Macy Shackleton, are a revelation. They’re hardened by their circumstances but still spark with personality. Most of the film focuses on interactions between the three, and they effortlessly switch between comedy and heavy drama without losing sight of their character.

The film is pitched as a classic children’s adventure, and though some of the material is a bit dark for younger viewers, there’s plenty to ignite the imagination. From a daring raid of a joke shop, to sneaking two donkeys into train toilets to avoid the ticket inspector, they’re the kind of joyful escapades we dreamed of as kids.The RunawaysThe production quality is superb for a film of this size. Each frame is beautifully composed, with cinematographer Phil Wood capturing Whitby’s colourful yet well-worn aesthetic. Composer Andrew Swabrick does an excellent job too, with a string-led score that sweeps the characters along their journey. It’s a prime example of how to make the most out of a small budget.

Often, indie films struggle to balance the light and dark, opting for a shocking ending for cheap resolutions. What makes The Runaways so refreshing is it doesn’t take the easy way out. You believe in the characters’ actions, care about their journey, and are rewarded for your investment. It’s not a revolutionary story, but one told honestly and very well.

With rewards season in full swing, it’s a tough time for smaller releases to get attention. The Runaways is worth seeking out, with heartfelt performances and a charming script. It’s a ray of British sunshine on film.


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