How much of a film that is “based on a true story” can ever be true? At the end of ‘No smoke’ it’s hard not to feel that too much may be accurate and hoping that the rest is fiction.
This, the latest film from local director Sue Shearing, would probably be described as ‘powerful’ and ‘thought-provoking’. It is all of that and more. In fact, its slight failings are more than outweighed by the excellent writing and attention to detail.
The life of a journalist is turned upside down when she reports a group of potential terrorists to the Police. If ever there was cinematic proof of a conspiracy theory, it is here. ‘No smoke’ takes the idea that your life can be controlled by the authorities without you even realising it is happening. Then it plays around with the ideas of friendship and betrayal. The ending comes as a shock, although something of a smile played on the faces of much of the audience at the premiere screening in one particular scene near the end.
This is a film made in and around North Herts and starring many familiar faces, with some professionals thrown in to give a hard core.
Lead role of Polly is played remarkably by Nicola Wright (soon to appear in the latest Ben Crowe film, ‘Verity’s summer’ and for several years Rosemary in ‘The Archers’, as well as an array of TV roles). She said: ‘One thing that appealed to me about the script was the change in my character throughout the film. What would drive someone to do what she does? How can someone be pushed so far?’
Chief villain – although there are several villains responsible for Polly’s life falling apart – is played with great aplomb by Ricky Verdee (‘The Real Story’ on BBC TV, Sky’s The Dream Team and Channel 4’s ‘The Bollywood star’).
‘I usually play villains and I did have to think very carefully about playing this one, for reasons that become clear at the end of the film,’ said Ricky. ‘My latest venture is playing a goodie in a brand new sitcom and that is very different. There were real moments of tension in ‘No smoke’ and that’s great to work with.’
Star cameo role in this remarkable film has to go to Hitchin’s very own Tony Phillips, whose convincing role as judge actually sends a shiver down the spine.
All in all, ‘No smoke’ is enjoyable and entertaining and it is, very definitely, thought-provoking.
Member since: 31st May 2012
Writer and sax player. Brought up in Hitchin and - apart from uni and some ensuing madness of life in London - I've always lived here.