James White

Film Review by Josh Slater-Williams | 12 Feb 2016
Film title: James White
Director: Josh Mond
Starring: Christopher Abbott, Cynthia Nixon, Scott Mescudi, Makenzie Leigh, Ron Livingston, David Call
Certificate: 15

Searing character study from Borderline Films, the team behind Martha Marcy May Marlene and Simon Killer

A troubled, white 20something New Yorker, also an aspiring writer, struggles to take control of his self-destructive tendencies. Based on logline alone, James White sounds like a simple rehash of storylines and character clichés that are beyond exhausted in American independent cinema. Don’t trust that preconception. Hinged on blazing, brutal performances from Christopher Abbott (best known to UK viewers as Charlie in Lena Dunham's Girls) as the eponymous lead and Cynthia Nixon as his cancer-ridden mother, this is a low-key but devastating drama with more raw authenticity than a hundred examples of Sundance landfill. Or, to put it another way, it's much closer in spirit and execution to John Cassavetes than Zach Braff.

Director Josh Mond, making his feature debut, has been part of the band of producers behind Martha Marcy May Marlene and Simon Killer and his film is similarly evocative of the wild emotional states brought on by disorientating circumstances and conflicts of communication. Crucially, he strikes a perfect balance in examining his volatile protagonist – never vilifying nor glorifying, simply observing. [Josh Slater-Williams]

19 Feb, CCA, 6.30pm

20 Feb, CCA, 1.15pm