Saxon

saxon.jpg
Peccadillo Pictures
Greg Loftin/United Kingdom 2008

Sean Harris gets more impressive every time I see him. In Saxon, he plays the resonantly-named Fast Eddie, a small-time crook who returns to the even more resonantly-named Saxon housing estate somewhere in the English south east. His old flame Linda (Sarah Matravers) hires him to find her missing husband, who once hit the jackpot on a TV quiz show before some unpleasantness involving home improvements led to nasty consequences.

As Eddie shambles along on his quest in a manner anything but fast, symbolism starts to accumulate. Other estates are mentioned, with names like Wessex and India. Linda has two identical Midwich daughters. Harris suffers a string of mythologically significant injuries: loss of an eye, nails through the limbs, pierced by arrows, laughable haircut. A weird old lady sells cigarette lighters; she is called the Lighter Lady, at which point an actual light may turn on above the heads of Twin Peaks fans as Saxon’s intentions become rather clearer.

It’s a hugely assured piece of work by all concerned. Filmed on digital video, English council estates have never looked more luminously dire, and any film which starts with a man being chased by murderous fishmongers can’t be all bad. The treat for UK viewers is Matravers as the balefully aspirant Linda, prowling across the screen like a praying mantis in shiny stilettos. Matravers not only appeared in the bonkers UK soap Footballers Wives but has also fronted reality shows about actual home improvements, and hence sits at the junction of so many alternate-reality Britains that her casting is just too perfect for words.

© 2007 Tim Hayes. All rights reserved.

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