The Party's Just Beginning

In Karen Gillan's Inverness-set directorial debut The Party's Just Beginning, the script, the camera, and the actor all move in perfect time with one another

Film Review by Ross McIndoe | 26 Feb 2018
Film title: The Party's Just Beginning
Director: Karen Gillan
Starring: Karen Gillan, Lee Pace, Matthew Beard, Jamie Quinn, Paul Higgins, Siobhan Redmond, Rachel Jackson
Release date: 1 Dec
Certificate: 15

Get drunk. Get laid. Get chips. Walk home.

In between, glower through another supermarket shift. Nod hello to Dad while he stares dead-eyed at the television, Mum while she drinks wine and worries about her friends’ opinions. Try not to look too long through other people’s windows, wondering what your life is missing. Try not to think about your dead friend. Try not to think at all. Do whatever it takes to maintain a manageable numbness.

Lucy jokes constantly, laughs seldom. She deals with loss, pain and sorrow by not dealing with them at all. The Party’s Just Beginning’s deadliest weapon is writer-director-star Karen Gillan’s cast-iron deadpan. Equipped with an accent tailor-made for gruff irony, her bone-dry rebuttals are a work of art all by themselves. She does things with the word “cheese” you can’t even imagine.  

On her directorial debut, she has built her own perfect vehicle from scratch in a way that goes well beyond a perfect understanding of her own comedic talents.

The way the camera moves between elegant frames and clumsy, stumbling intimacy. The way the movie bubbles over with giggling energy one moment and slumps dead the next. The way the whole thing feels fairy light lit, the looming darkness held back only by beautiful, fragile little points of light. The movie is an auteur-actor dream where the main character reflects the film and the film the character. The script, the camera, her body all move in perfect time with one another through every beat. It is her movie in the fullest way possible and a glimmering success for exactly that reason.

The Party's Just Beginning had its world premiere at Glasgow Film Festival 2018, and is released 1 Dec by Blue Finch Film Releasing

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