When one is given a micro-budget, a veteran actress like Jenny Agutter, and a screenplay adapted from the stage, how does one go about making a cinematic feature-length production? To director Bill Scott, it would appear best to foreground both the cinematic and theatrical quality of the piece to produce something in the middle. This results in a stale and wooden production that, unfortunately, feels half-finished.
In 1890s Cornwall, a town’s mining operations are drawing to a close, which brings worry to the local people. To take advantage of this downturn, a number of bankers attempt to swindle the locals and squeeze any remaining assets. The only people that could potentially stop them are the unlikely maid, Nel (Helen Bendell), and a travelling Opera troupe lead by Marjorie Dawson (Jenny Agutter).
It is admirable for Scott to shoot much of this on green-screen, but when one understands this is for financial reasons rather than aesthetic, it then becomes distracting, taking away from the viewing experience. This could be avoided had the whole film been shot in a familiar manner, and truly foregrounded its theatrical origin, but alas it only feels unpolished.
The story takes an anti-banking stance that is still pertinent today, but this is weighed under the simplified caricatures that populate this town. Further, these broadly written characters serve only to amplify the fairly poor acting that is on display. It could, again, be Scott wishing to foreground the script’s theatre origin, but this would only be an excuse for these flaws.
At the film’s core, there are interesting ideas and important anti-fiscal messages that still ring true today, but its micro-budget aesthetics are put to the foreground (a sad irony, really), which distances the audience from the film. Even veteran actress Jenny Agutter could not save this from being a dull, poorly paced, and under-performed affair.
Tin is released nationwide on 17th April 2015.
Watch the trailer for Tin here: