The Party’s Just Beginning
Written and directed by Karen Gillan in her directorial debut, The Party’s Just Beginning is a powerfully human tale of a young woman from Inverness, Lucy, struggling to cope with the effects of a friend’s suicide as she fills the void left in her life with sex, drugs and chips. Tackling many important issues in an evocative and hard-hitting fashion, The Party’s Just Beginning is a promising sign of the actor’s future as a filmmaker.
As well as writing and directing, Gillan also takes the starring role in her film and expertly carries much of the narrative’s emotional weight herself as we watch her character’s life gradually spiral out of control. Her talent has already seen her rise through Hollywood, but this is by far her strongest performance yet, in a darker role than we’ve seen her in before. Gillan grounds the story firmly in the bleak reality of working class life in Scotland, thus her performance comes across as completely natural, which only makes the film’s themes more tangible, and their impact subsequently more effective. Likewise, the supporting cast do an excellent job of presenting their characters’ own demons without being too overbearing or melodramatic.
From a technical perspective, the director demonstrates a strong grasp of filmmaking and an incredible flair for creativity as she takes full advantage of cinematography, editing, and sound design to tell a visually interesting and engaging narrative that unsettles just as much as it uplifts. By blurring the line between memory and reality within a variety of creative sequences, she allows us to vicariously experience Lucy’s traumatic past and the repetitive cycle of destruction her life has become. However, whilst the plot’s structure is intentionally unclear at first, which may be confusing for some, these scattered fragments do eventually come together to uncover a satisfying and cathartic conclusion.
A rich and devastatingly powerful story of grief and suffering, there is a lot to be taken from Gillan’s outstanding directorial debut. The Party’s Just Beginning is an extraordinary film that blends the harsh aspects of life with an unapologetic sense of humour to tell a purely human story.
The Party’s Just Beginning is released in select UK cinemas on 1st December and on demand from 11th December.
Watch the trailer for The Party’s Just Beginning here: