The first film from Sadie Frost and Emma Comley’s new production outfit, Blonde to Black, and the directorial debut of Remy Bennett and Emilie Richard-Froozan Buttercup Bill is a romance tale, of a sort.
This is an intimate portrait of childhood friends, Pernilla (Remy Bennett) and Patrick (Evan Louison), and their longstanding obsession with one another. It’s the kind of tale that wouldn’t look out of place in David Lynch and, in true Southern-Gothic tradition, there’s a dirty little secret haunting them. The two have been apart for years but, reunited by the suicide of an old playmate, Pernilla and Patrick quickly fall back into old habits and what follows is a truly absorbing exploration of both characters.
Rest assured, Buttercup Bill is not a film to be shaken off easily.
It’s an impressive, inspirational debut, beautifully filmed and accompanied by an excellent soundtrack. The mystery of what’s keeping Pernilla and Patrick together is tantalising and enough to keep interest peaked. The chemistry between the two leads alone is almost enough to hold up the entire production; it’s an electric, almost physical – presence. In the end it is Pernilla and Patrick’s odd, childish and borderline incestuous relationship that serves as the film’s centre point. It’s complex, layered and the big reveal only raises more questions.
But the film is not without its flaws. The first part is rather disjointed, feeling less like an intro and more like fragments of several other films. This disjointedness may add a little to Pernilla’s character but it also has the unfortunate side-effect of making the whole a little difficult to latch onto. There are fragments, scenes and throw-away lines throughout that don’t really seem to fit in, and can be quite jarring.
Nonetheless, Buttercup Bill is a truly fascinating tale and, while it may not achieve the cult status of something like Bunny Lake is Missing (which served in part as inspiration), it will certainly find itself a comfortable niche in the indie film world.
Buttercup Bill is released nationwide on 4th September 2015.
Watch the trailer for Buttercup Bill here: