I am a human, a tiny person completely overshadowed by the vast world. If I am stripped of my clothes, my phone and computer are taken away from me, I am nothing. I am an animal again. Or at least, this is the feeling I had when I finished watching Blooded.
Blooded is conceptually one of the most interesting films I have seen in a long time. If you haven’t heard anything about it yet, firstly I’d wonder if you’ve had your computer (and possibly also your clothes and phone) taken away from you, secondly you’ve missed out.
Initially a video that had been filmed by The Real Animal League was uploaded on YouTube. The film was quickly removed, but not before it went viral. A website for The Real Animal League was also created. Both video and website were fake, and the creation of the makers of Blooded. It was a great marketing campaign that got people talking. According to The Evening Standard, the YouTube video “caused outrage after graphic scenes showing activists attacking five deer-stalkers were posted on the internet, in a viral publicity campaign.” Blimey.
Interestingly though, the hunting debate was in fact the last thing on my mind after watching the film. Blooded is an exciting thriller which just happens to use hunting as a means to demonstrate the fragility of humanity and the nature of extremism.
Written by James Walker, it is the directorial début of Ed Boase. You could call it a mockumentary as it presents fictional events as if they are real, using interviews and internet footage. The directors have described their film as being “documentary fiction for the Wikipedia age.” Even though I knew it was fake, I was almost convinced by the end that it was based on something that had really happened.
Five young deer hunters decide to go on a hunt on the Isle of Mull in Scotland, two of whom are brothers, one of which is Lucas Bell, a key figure in the pro-hunting debate. In the reconstruction scenes, Lucas is played by Nick Ashdon, who also produced the film. In the interview section he is played by Neil McDermott, (Ryan Malloy in EastEnders). Lucas is an interesting character because in many ways he’s the focal point of the film, yet he probably spends the shortest amount of time on screen of anyone. You never really know what he is thinking, you just watch as he goes to extreme measures to protect something he believes in.
Lucas’s brother Charlie is also on the trip with his American girlfriend Eve Jourdan (Tracey Ifeachor) and they are joined by Liv Scott, played by Cicely Tennant in the reconstruction and Isabella Calthorpe, the reported one time flame of Prince William and one time flame of Lucas in the film.
On the first day Eve bags a deer and is “blooded” , which is a hunting ritual where the blood of a first kill is smeared on the hunter’s face. From this point on the real action of the film begins, the group are kidnapped, stripped to their underwear and left alone in various locations across the island by an extremist animal rights group, the Real Animal League. If you don’t know, the Isle of Mull is very isolated and made up of vast rolling landscape, which is used to the maximum effect in the film. The cinematography is simply stunning and really gives you a sense of proportion. When the camera pans out, you can see the house they are staying in is a tiny speck compared to the land around it and the people inside, minuscule. The group have become prey, the activists are the hunters and have to go to some lengths in order to survive.
Blooded is utterly compelling with first class acting and an incredible emotive sound track from Ivor Novello-nominated composer Ilan Eshkeri working with Jeff Toyne. It is thought promoting and raises the interesting and topical question of extremism and the lengths people will go to in order to get their point across. Extremism is terrifying and Blooded shows us that. More terrifying for me is the idea of how easy it is for humans to become like animals once again, and that we can just as easily be hunted as animals can.
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