Tribeca 2018: The Party’s Just Beginning Review

This Film Has Not Yet Rated

Mt. Hollywood Films, Synchronicity Films

1 Hr and 30 Minutes

Dir & Writer: Karen Gillan

Cast: Karen Gillan, Lee Pace, Matthew Beard, Jamie Quinn, Paul Higgins, Siobhan Redmond, Rachel Jackson

Amy Pond made a movie which I was told was a dark comedy. After seeing it, I think Gillan has some crazy demons to face. I went in thinking “Hey, it’s good ol’ Amy Pond with her first flick”. But in actuality it’s as dark and disturbing as another known character she’s known for portraying.

YEAH, HER.

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Liusaidh (Karen Gillan) is a young woman from Inverness who is dealing with the suicide of her best friend. She struggles to cope with her life and turns to sex and alcohol.

THE GOOD

Don’t be fooled by the title because “The Party’s Just Beginning” is primarily centered on the suicidal rate in Scotland and how it affects one woman who has nearly everyone she cares about offing themselves. Since this is a dark topic, Gillan made sure through her writing and direction that suicide is never once played for laughs. Suicide is a tough subject and Gillan approaches it with such care. It is the emotional resonance of the film for whenever someone contemplates the decision, sentimentality is infused.

You know how in Amy Schumer’s “Trainwreck” she wouldn’t get into a relationship because of her excessive drinking and poor decisions so she sleeps with different men? Well, Liusaidh does this in order to keep herself away from depression and suicide. During the time that the suicide rate is sky high and everyone in her life is dying off, not only does she result to drinking and sex as a means to distract herself, but to also not be in the mindset of “huh, am I going to kill myself too?” Every time she drinks or screws a guy you can tell that it’s a cry for help where she sometimes gets herself into uncomfortably disturbing sexual situations.

One of the things that awed me was the cinematography by Edd Lukas. Lukas manages to give Scotland a grim look that reflects the grim premise and it works. The dark look doesn’t only add an aesthetic layer, but also makes the movie itself look theatrical which can’t be said about the other films I’ve seen at the festival.

THE BAD

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With this being Gillian’s directorial and screenwriting debut, her biggest strength is her direction where her ensemble gives very serviceable performances. The weakness, on the other hand, is the script. I’m not saying the characters are written poorly or anything, but the narrative itself lacks a structure. For a film that talks about suicide and substance abuse, there isn’t that much going on besides a rolling cycle of Liusaidh making terrible decisions from beginning to end. You sympathize for her at first but she never seems to learn anything as the film progresses. For the most part, we’re just stuck with her and witness how much her life goes to waste. Even by the conclusion of the film, it practically just says “WELL, THAT’S LIFE!” And as the audience member you’re left feeling like,

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LAST STATEMENT

Karen Gillan shows a lot of potential as a director with “The Party’s Just Beginning” where she manages to carry the weight of the movie both on and off camera. If only the narrative had a bit more substance, then this party would be fun to witness.

Rating: 2/5 | 46%

2 stars

uper Scene:  Liusaidh and Dale have a heart to heart

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