x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Dolphins

Fast cars, wild driving and teenage ennui is no help to this British version of The Fast and the Furious.

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Presumably, The Fast and the Furious juggernaut is responsible for the cinematic shambles that is Dolphins. It's a British low-budget version, though, set underneath the twinkling lights of Brighton. And the starring car? A Ford. Driving it is Brent Black (Karl Davies), a young boy blighted by a troubled family life - a lunatic father, an absent mother, a handicapped brother. It's no wonder that he likes spending so much time in his shiny motor. A feud with his unpleasant housing estate rivals are one part of the plot; Brent's love for the "posh, minted" girl Ophelia (Lauren Steventon) another. Where would we be without Shakespeare to rip off, eh? A good deal of the film's progression is helped by the use of mobile phones - baying, feral yobs record car chases with them; Brent's love story with Ophelia develops mostly thanks to text messages. "In ur garden now. Need 2 C U so badly", texts the Romeo from underneath her balcony. But the nod to modern technology is too obviously handled, as if the scriptwriter (Mark Jay) assumed that's what the film needed to make it relevant. The best bit, though this is by no means an oversubscribed race, is the score. Given its Brighton connection, the local resident Fatboy Slim worked on a few of the tracks, as did his record label, Skint Records. The result is a gritty mixture of dance and moody backing tracks, perfectly suited to teenage ups and downs. If you've forgotten how tedious and agonising those years were, plodding through this 83-minute film will bring them all flooding back.