Calibre

Two lifelong friends Vaughn and Marcus, Jack Lowden (Dunkirk) and Martin McCann (The Survivalist) leave Edinburgh for an isolated Scottish Highlands village on a weekend hunting trip. After a night drinking with locals (who just about tolerate them) they head out on a misty morning to hunt deer. Things go tragically wrong and they decide to try and cover up an accident, but as they become stranded in the village they are drawn into a dark nightmare. Gun-wielding villagers force them to make a series of terrible and impossible choices.

Calibre is the feature debut of director Matt Palmer and is set primarily within a small community in the Scottish Highlands. Having grown up in a small Scottish village in the arse end of nowhere, this film manages to capture the feeling of strangers visiting a small close-knit community far better than any other film that I can remember. Film such as American Werewolf in London or The Wickerman have attempted to capture this previously to varying degrees of success, American Werewolf does so with a comedic slant and The Wickerman does it with a more exaggerated slant. Neither of these films gave me the feeling of a real life community in the way that Calibre did. The film also touches on some of the real issues facing small communities due to a lack of investment and job creation. It’s a beautifully shot film, making excellent use of the stunning Scottish scenery to convey the remoteness and isolation of large parts of Scotland and manages to show why the reliance by local community on each other is so important, it also shows how intimidating it can be to be an outsider in this situation looking in. The story is fairly standard fare, ‘something bad happens, one person convinces the other to cover it up, it all comes undone’ but it is told well and doesn’t feel hackneyed or cliched.

The film is a well acted, tense and entertaining thriller and whilst the middle third drags a little, it manages to pick up and continue on to a satisfying conclusion.

★★★★

Euan Tennant

To be released on Netflix June 29th

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