Saturday, November 12, 2016
Written & Directed By: Rebecca Johnson
Cinematography By: Annemarie Lean-Vercoe
Editor: John Dwelly
Cast: Jessica Sula, Ntonga Mwanza, Lucien Laviscount, Naomi Ryan, Danielle Vitalis, Lauren Johns, Tosin Cole, Savannah Gordon-Liburd
Inspired by true events, it tells a story of fifteen-year-old Layla, who sets up the boy in love with her to be killed. When Troy discards her, Layla is left in ruins. She vows to rebuild herself as a hardened player in order to win him back and Shaun becomes a pawn in her game. Soon the forces she has set in motion are escalating out of control. The first UK urban drama seen from a girl's point of view, HONEYTRAP is authentically local in its setting but universal in its themes of passion, jealousy and revenge. We have not seen a character like Layla take centre-stage before and it's time her story to be told.
The films title either seems to mean to be trapped by sex or the promise of it and getting stung by it. As it ends up being a trap a sweet trap.
The films strong natural performances are what really save the film and leave it to be haunting after.
As the films story seems familiar and ripped from the headlines, but throughout we really get to know the interior of not o to the situation but the characters and their motivations. Which aren't what you expect at first.
The film plays structurally at times like a more extreme version of an afterschool special.
Though you always feel sympathy for the lead character of Layla played by Jessica Sula. She does things out of innocence and hope not knowing. The strength of her Looks and actions on others which come out as either welcoming. Naive, superficial, seductive, manipulative. As other girls are jealous of her and use her to their own advantage until boys show her attention.
Jessica Sula's Performance is different than when she was on the U.K. Show SKINS. There she was more innocent and just a good person with little to no problems. In this film she is messed up and doesn't know any better as she has no guidance or anyone to really talk to or help her. So she doesn't know any better. Not that it's an excuse but you can see her easily being lead down a bad road of her own creation. She maintains an innocence as any time she is filled up or tries to look seductive she looks ridiculous to a degree or it seems less natural.
We see why she is the way she is as she comes to live with her mother. Who is cold to a degree and seems to put beauty and men over everything. So that while she is reunited with her mother she is very much alone and treated as stupid by all around her. Until she makes some friends who hip her up to a degree and she meets a guy who romances her and takes her virginity. Then drops her after she finds out he is a womanizer and another boy who is seen as less cool and is nice who likes her for who she is. She gives him a chance as he is friendly and a good guy and as the film goes along we get to see all sides of him. I also have to give attention to Ntonga Mwanza who plays the nice guy Shaun. He is only in half the scenes but makes his presence felt and gains the audiences sympathies and showcases a charisma that makes his character all the more likeable.
The film never really explains why even from the beginning. The cool guys never really like him or treat him so badly. One could see if it was more of a pissing contest and the other more alpha male didn't like anyone sniffing around his territory, but it seems he is hated by them even before that for little to no reason. Though we have a preview of it. The ending is still shocking. Especially how the fate of certain characters are presented.
What works in this film is that while at first all the characters could easily be written off with a label or caricature. As the film goes along each get's their moment to show that they are more or have more going on then first thought. Allowing. For more dimensions than many films of it's kind.
Though I will admit the rough act is a bit violent and rougher than it needs to be, but there it feels more ripped form the headlines and exposes a life's not fair attitude that is all too real these days.
This is a film that stays with you once it is over. Where some of the films weaknesses actually work for it. As it makes it feel all too real.
Not a bad debut film. As the film has strong characters and emotions. It only lacks more of stronger visualization.