The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Kelly + Victor | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Kelly + Victor

A young man becomes involved with a passionate but troubled girl.

Directed by: Kieran Evans
Starring: Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Julian Morris, William Ruane, Claire Keelan

The title characters first meet on the crowded dancefloor of a Liverpool nightclub. When Victor (Morris) walks Kelly (Campbell-Hughes) home afterwards, she invites him in. The two indulge in a night of intense sex, with Kelly subjecting Victor to some minor S & M. Victor is instantly smitten and is soon meeting up with Kelly again. Each meeting results in Kelly performing increasingly violent and dangerous acts on her lover, who finally calls it a day when she carves their initials into Victor's back while he's tied up. It's not long, however, before Victor comes to realize that he too has become addicted to this extreme brand of sexual pleasure.
If Kieran Evans' adaptation of Niall Griffiths' novel had taken its title a tad more literally, focusing solely on the central relationship, it would have resulted in a far superior movie. Campbell-Hughes and Morris have a genuine chemistry that, despite the arguably warped nature of their relationship, comes across as endearing and genuine. Together they form the most believable on-screen couple I've seen in some time. Their conversations are realistically awkward, as any dialogue between burgeoning lovers usually is, and we actually root for them to make things work, whether we relate to their fetishes or not.
Where the movie collapses is in a couple of sub-plots; one involving a sex-worker friend of Kelly's who makes money degrading upper-class businessman, the other focusing on Victor's drug-dealing mate. These sub-plots go nowhere and merely serve to pad out the running time. The latter is particularly awkwardly handled and feels like something you'd see in a British soap opera.
As well portrayed as the central relationship is, it ultimately has nowhere to go but an ending that's so predictable, it surprised me, as I had ruled it out as too obvious an option. With the excising of unnecessary details, this could be a very impressive short film but, as it is, 'Kelly + Victor' is a frustrating feature based around two highly impressive performances.

Eric Hillis