Posted June 2, 2011 by Alex Moss Editor in DVD/Blu-ray
 
 

I Know You Know DVD


Low budget British films often struggle to find an audience amongst
the slew of Hollywood blockbusters that litter the cinemas and DVD
shelves. I Know You Know is a good example of a film that fits
into this category. It has endless heart and it warrants more attention
than it will no doubt get.

It is 1988 and Charlie (Carlyle), a self styled MI6 Agent in the vein of Michael Caine’s
Harry Palmer, is looking after his son Jamie. The problem is that
Charlie believes that there are sinister powers at work with the launch
of a new technology, in the shape of satellite television company Astro
Sat.

Part coming of age drama, as Jamie struggles to deal with bullies at
school, and part psychological drama, I Know You Know is always warmest
when looking at the father son bond between Charlie and Jamie. Directed
by Justin Kerrigan, who has been noticeably absent since Human Traffic, it is partly the story of his own father, which lends pathos as we see Jamie’s understanding grow. Towards the end Jamie begins to grasp that his father is not the untouchable hero that he has always seemed to be. In every child’s life there comes a moment when a parent is no longer this perfect being and that they are only human too.

As Jamie goes from hero-worshipping his father to beginning to see
him for what he really is, the dynamic in their relationship changes.
One minute Charlie is teaching Jamie how to stand up for himself,
instilling confidence in the young boy, the next he is being calmed down
by his son as his paranoia spirals out of control. Kerrigan does not
push any form of mental scarring for Jamie, but instead allows a gradual
erosion of his preconceptions. He clearly revels in the 80s setting,
which permits him to indulge in a touch of nostalgia with its music,
fashion and technology. But it works and the film acts as a
bittersweet love letter to Kerrigan’s father who, if the film is
anything to go by, he never truly knew.

Robert Carlyle is an actor whose career is not representative of his huge talent. Instead he has become a dependable character actor and here continues that trend.
Charlie is at one point effortlessly cool, coming off all James Bond,
but Carlyle is able to shift the tone without msking the audience
flinche. The suspicion and mistrust creeps in throughout, rather than
all coming out in one ‘dramatic’ scene and therefore makes for a much
more engaging and coherent character arc. However, the real star of the
show is Arron Fuller as Jamie. The young actor strikes a perfect
balance between cocky youngster and insecure child. At first he is
hugely excited by the adventures of his father before becoming aware of
the reality, he is able to convey huge anxiety while always remaining a
fully rounded character.

The film is at times slightly undermined by not knowing quite what genre it is, but I Know You Know is a film with highs and lows that are all hugely rewarding. The ending has much more impact thanks to two excellent lead performances that make you invest in the characters so totally.


Alex Moss Editor

 
Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com