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Review: Illegal Being – “A damn fine student film”

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Illegal Being is a low budget, independent sci-fi political drama made by Liverpool-based student film group Some Guys With A Camera.

In 2030 Britain, a humanoid Alien lands on the shores of Liverpool and befriends an isolated girl. Meanwhile, the instatement of the twenty five year old, xenophobic ex-actor Michael Crank as the new Prime Minister ensures that the Alien’s arrival is far from welcoming.

The film is written and directed by Matthew Reynolds. It stars Conor O’Neill, John Reynolds, Maria Taggart, Daniel Edwards, Elle Hazlett, Nick Jennings and Benji Holmes.

Full disclosure before I go any further, the film stars my step-son, Daniel Edwards. I knew he could sing extremely well but turns out he is also a good actor. His scene advising the new PM on what to say and do in Liverpool did make me laugh. It all makes me feel very proud of him.

Many student films you see are usually short films. They often try and be all arty and cool, but fall flat and don’t actually say anything. For Illegal Being, the Some Guys With A Camera group decided to make a full-length movie. Even better they used the classic idea of having a sci-fi film comment on what is going on in the world around us today. It is a little bit The Man Who Fell To Earth meets The Thick of It with a dash of Franz Kafka thrown in for good measure.

I was not sure what to expect and, having been burnt many times before with low-budget movies, knew it could go either way. However, within the first few minutes, I could see what they were going for and settled in to watch it through to the end.

On the whole, it all works rather well. There are moments of drama, moments of strangeness and a few laughs sprinkled throughout. It kept my interest throughout so it did what it set out to do.

It is a very low-budget film so obviously, they were limited with costumes, equipment and the rest, but they used what they had to great effect. They also made use of various locations in and around Liverpool, which really added to the overall quality of the film. The news stories throughout the film also looked great and helped keep things moving along.

Of course, there are some of the usual student movie cliches – long takes, overuse of coloured filters, and a little bit of over-acting in places, but that’s all part of the learning process and did not take away from the story.

It is actually a pretty damn fine student film.

At the end of the day, any group of friends who get together to make a film and see it through to the end are doing great things.

I look forward to seeing what Some Guys With A Camera end up making next.

If you have got an hour and 27 minutes to spare then give the film a watch below and share a comment of encouragement on the YouTube video. You can also follow them over on Instagram.

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