Glasgow Film Festival Review: Shell Print
Written by Ivan Radford   
Saturday, 23 February 2013 00:41

Shell - Chloe Pirrie

Director: Scott Graham
Cast: Chloe Pirrie, Joseph Mawle, Michael Smiley

It’s not easy growing up. It’s even harder if you do it in the middle of nowhere with only a petrol pump and your dad (Mawle) for company. That’s Shell’s (Pirrie) life. A car comes by. She fills it up. The car drives away. More often than not, no cars come at all. But still she stays put, manning the shop while Pete tears up wrecked vehicles for scrap money.

Why? Director Scott Graham’s answers surprise as much as they sadden. Keeping his camera still, he watches their complex father-daughter relationship unfold: a bond built on warmth, dependency and loneliness.

Chloe Pirrie astounds as the blossoming teen, wide-eyed but wild, like an angry, panicking deer. Mawle is equally captivating as her distant dad, reliant on Shell because of his long-term illness.

DoP Yoliswa Gärtig shoots everything in cool grey, capturing the stunning landscape around them like a Constable painting. As the couple collide with their grim surroundings, Graham’s debut feature intrigus even further. The result is a calm and absorbing coming-of-age drama, shot through with a heartbreaking sense of isolation. It’s a must-see of the Glasgow Film Festival.