EIFF 2015: Scottish Mussel

Film Review by Josh Slater-Williams | 26 Jun 2015
Film title: Scottish Mussel
Director: Talulah Riley
Starring: Martin Compston, Talulah Riley, Morgan Watkins, Joe Thomas, Paul Brannigan, Marianna Palka, Emun Elliott, Harry Enfield, Steven O'Donnell, Niall Greig Fulton, Russell Kane, Rufus Hound, James Dreyfus, Camille Coduri

Scottish Mussel follows Martin Compston as a Glaswegian schemer moonlighting as an illegal pearl fisher in the Highland streams, with the help of his bumbling mates (Brannigan and Thomas). His attitude changes, however, when he falls for a beautiful English conservationist (Riley, also on writing and directing duties) who is determined to prevent the poaching of the area's endangered mussels.

Sometimes the worst kind of bad film isn't the one that's outright offensive and hateful, it's the one that is full of good intentions but lacks any grasp of tone or gripping storytelling; made with a message in mind, but completely vacuous in execution. Scottish Mussel is sadly one of those misfires, with the sort of scattershot script where most of the film's cameo stars also get a romantic interest at the end.

It's the sort of film where one spends the entire running time wondering who on earth it was made for; the sort of film where the only moment that remotely works is when a frustrated Compston calls an otter a "treacherous beaver bastard", because it's the only time anyone onscreen seems to have a pulse.

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Scottish Mussel has its world premiere at this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival
26 Jun, 8.50pm, Cineworld; 27 Jun, 5.40pm, Cineworld; 28 Jun, 12.20pm, Filmhouse http://edfilmfest.org.uk/films/2015/scottish-mussel