Posts tagged: Justin Kerrigan

IndieFlicks: Interview

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Justin Kerrigan is the British film director best known for his 1999 film, Human Traffic. His latest film I Know You Know, starring Robert Carlyle, took over 8 years to complete and was released earlier this year. IndieFlicks managed to grab a quick word with Justin during the promotional tour of the film.

IF: How did you get started in filmmaking?

Justin: I was on course for a fine art degree when a friend of mine bought a video camera and I got hooked. I applied to film degrees but got rejected from everywhere. Took a year off and sold jeans until I could afford a second hand camera then quit my job and made a film which got me onto a film degree in Newport. Made 6 short films, 5 went on TV then came out of college and made Human Traffic.

IF: Where did the idea for I Know You Know come from?

Justin: It’s a true story based on my experiences with my father in the late 80’s. Shortly after Human Traffic was released my father died unexpectedly and there where no photographs to remind me of him so I wanted to make something to try and fill the void and understand the double life that he led in the 80’s.

IF: This was Arron Fuller’s first acting role. Did you direct him any differently to the other actors?

Justin: I directed Arron the same way as I direct all the actors – I gave him what he needed – support, encouragement and a clear understanding of what we were going for. I am very proud of that boy. How he could be that emotional for a 12 year old boy who has never acted before really impressed us.

IF: Did you always have Robert Carlyle in mind for the role of Charlie?

Justin: Over the 7 years of writing I Know You Know I completed over 40 drafts of the script and the character Charlie went in some different directions, but in the end I went full circle and came back to the original Charlie and back to Robert Carlyle. Bobby is a chameleon. He can do anything. I know the character inside out but he still managed to surprise me. That’s a gift.

IF: What format did you film on and was this a creative or financial choice?

We shot it on 16mm and graded it using the printer lights the old fashion way to give it an archive look. If we shot it on the enhanced quality of 35mm of today or HD, it would have taken us out of the time zone of the story. It was important for me that the film looked like it was from the past.

IF: Do you have any projects in the pipeline?

Justin: I’m writing script No 3. It will be totally different from I Know You Know and Human Traffic.

IF: What advice would you give to any aspiring filmmakers out there?

Justin: Write an action-comedy - they are easier to get made.

IF: What do you think to the current state of independent filmmaking here in the UK?

Every film is unique, every filmmaker has his or her own voice. I love it when I see a new interesting director coming out like Duncan Jones who directed Moon.

To read IndieFlicks review of I Know You Know click here

Review: I Know You Know

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Director: Justin Kerrigan

Robert Carlyle & Aaron Fuller

The relationship between fathers and sons, and the hero worship that fades as we realise that parents are every bit as human as ourselves, lies at the heart of I know You Know, the latest film from Justin Kerrigan (Human Traffic), starring Robert Carlyle.

Set in the 1980s, the film is focused on Charlie (Carlyle) and Jamie (Arron Fuller), a father and son team. Charlie presents himself as a secret agent, living on the edge. Jamie is an all too willing assistant.

The plot is concerned with the gradual realisation by Jamie that the world which he has inhabited with his father is a fractured reality, and one that he increasingly needs to pull away from.

This is relatively small film, and very much a character piece. The chemistry between Carlyle and Fuller is the glue which holds the film together, and it is easy to imagine the script working well on the stage.

Fuller in particular gives a great performance, making you really believe in this child, on the cusp of his teenage years. While some of the problems that he is confronted with are a little cliché (the new kid having to take on the bullies for example), Fuller never makes it feel anything less than genuine.

Carlyle also does good work, and manages to make Charlie both charismatic, while also retaining a feeling of loss. Having seen Carlyle slumming in a number of recent films, it was refreshing to see his natural talent shining through.

The film falters in the final act, and doesn’t really have an adequate conclusion. It seems someone involved in the film thought so as well, and put in place a final epilogue that feels both out of place, and counter productive to the film we have just watched. It is simply not a fitting end to the work.

I know You Know is a solidly made film, with great performances. If you forgive the ending, there is a lot to like in the film.

Robert Girvan

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