Run and Jump
Run and Jump is just about held together by Maxine Peake, a veteran British actress who brings a poignant vitality to her role that saves this film from descending into drivel. She plays Venetia Casey, the increasingly stressed and desperate wife who balances occasional emotional immersion in alcohol with throwing her hands up and dancing in the kitchen in the middle of the night.
The chain of devastating events thrown haphazardly together in a nod towards what was once known as a “plot” commences with husband Conor Casey returning from hospital in the aftermath of a stroke nobody expected him to survive. Conor is played as well as Edward MacLiam can manage when limited to near monosyllables and vacant expressions with occasional bursts of badly coordinated ire.
Staying with the couple and their two children is the handsomely bearded Will Forte in the role of Ted – a visiting doctor who is filming Conor’s every move for research purposes. By the close of the film, the footage collected seems to be more a documentation of Venetia (the two having bonded rather well after a midnight indulgence in cannabis), bicycle rides in the rain and Ted having become quite the father figure to the Casey children, preteen Lenny and plot filler – sorry, younger daughter – Noni.
The narrative concept that everything needs to get worse several times over before it can get better is taken a little too broadly here. The plot furthers itself by drawing on pretty much every aspect of life it can during a supposed time span of a month or two: moonlight bonding with cannabis and alcohol, unsatisfying sex, unexpected death, romance, confusion about sexual orientation, and violence… Need the list continue?
This mishmash of plot and attempted tear jerking is palatable for two reasons – firstly, Peake makes at least one character here identifiable, raising some moral questions about personal happiness, “love” and commitment. Secondly, the filming technique is well chosen and echoes the camcorder Ted finds it so hard to put down – a nice touch. Overall, Run and Jump is watchable, certainly – but then agai-n, so is drying paint.
Run and Jump is released nationwide on 23rd May 2014.
Watch the trailer for Run and Jump here: