Film review: Electricity

Deyn is the best thing about Electricity

Cert 15 | ★★☆☆☆

For a supermodel looking to venture into acting, there will always be a plum role as a hottie in a Hollywood blockbuster. But in her transition to the screen Agyness Deyn has taken the path of greatest resistance. The sometime model built her rep as an actress with brave performances in the West End and a lo-fi indie flick. Electricity presents her with her toughest role yet, as an epileptic young woman trying to cope with the fallout of her troubled childhood.
This is filmmaker Bryn Higgins’ first feature, and he’s keen to impress. Electricity is directed to the nines: slo-mo effects follow jump cuts, and scenes of pared-down realism give way to trippy visuals for the onscreen seizures. The script tries equally hard – notably with Deyn’s voiceover, which is little more than a string of portentous similes (“sleep, thin as paper”). Deyn acts so naturally that, at times, you go along with the far-fetched plot. But at its worst the film just feels like a particularly gruelling episode of Skins, complete with on-trend indie soundtrack.
Electricity is essentially a kitchen-sink drama repackaged for hipsters. It is by turns punchy and woefully pretentious. Crucially, the epilepsy is never convincingly tied into the wider narrative, and the special effects are a distraction. Higgins clearly intended this to be an “issue film”; if only he did more to probe the issue of neurological disorders, and less to aestheticise it.

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