Sparks and EmbersCultureCinemaMovie reviews
An agonisingly trite and poorly compiled affair, Sparks and Embers is a paltry serving to whet the appetite of those seeking romance, comedy or even simply a mediocre indie film.
The film maladroitly straddles two points in time: an apparent parting farewell between Tom (Kris Marshall) and Eloise (Annelise Hesme), as the latter prepares to move back to France indefinitely, and five years earlier when the two are trapped for hours in a faulty lift after Tom receives his redundancy notice (a dismissal advised by Eloise as consultant to the record company where Tom is employed). Predictably, a long-term relationship and consequent breakup ensues in the years between their first chance meeting and last encounter, and Tom is pitted in a race against the clock to rekindle their ardour before Eloise must board her train.
It is a wonder the film is entitled Sparks and Embers, given there is not an iota of chemistry between the two principal actors. Based on Marshall and Hesme’s onscreen engagement, it is hard to believe that Tom and Eloise spend several hours in a lift together, let alone several years in a committed relationship. The resolution of the film is negligible because neither of the characters are particularly likeable people, creating a sense of ambivalence toward the endurance of their “passionate” love.
The screenplay is excruciatingly unfunny, unimaginative and clichéd; the dialogue is clumsy and is often as uncomfortable to witness as the actors seem delivering it. In a film where half of the plot takes place inside the dysfunctional lift of a record company, there is a shocking lack of a notable soundtrack. The only feat that writer/director Gavin Boyter may claim is creating the illusion of time dragging for hours on end within the real frame of a mere 88 minutes.
Sparks and Embers lacks the charm that is so crucial to the success of rom-coms in the 21st century and proves to be unforgivably out of touch with contemporary audiences. Not only is the film pitiably contrived and more likely to induce snores rather than chuckles, the feature demonstrates an unfortunate culmination of a tired script, novice filmmaking and flimsy acting. Probably its only redeemable quality is the lesson learned that “maintenance required” is synonymous with “do not use”.
Sparks and Embers is released nationwide on 18th December 2015.
Watch the trailer for Sparks and Embers here: