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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring: Peter Mullan, Keith Allen, Natalie Gavin and Sharon Rooney
Distributor: Cadiz Music
RRP: £14.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 31 October 2016

Hector lives rough, each winter he travels down to London to stay in a Christmas shelter. This year is different because Hector has to undergo an operation which may mean that this will be his last journey. With this in mind Hector changes his usual routine to reconnect with his family...

Hector (2015 - 1 hr, 24 min, 31 sec) is a road movie written and directed by Jake Gavin.

The film exists in that area somewhere between a Ken Loach film and a Christmas movie. We follow Hector (Peter Mullan) through his journey to the shelter and Gavin keeps the mood realistic avoiding any mawkish sentimentality. Along the way he meets various forms of kindness, from a free biscuit to go with his tea to being rescued from a couple of young thugs’ intent in denying him what little he owns.

We are asked to empathise with Hector without being asked to offer up sympathy. Hector, on one level, has chosen his life, people may pass him by, and indeed his own sister barely recognises him when they finally meet. The reconnection with his family also brings to the fore the real reason Hector, as he puts it, "fell out of life".

Even here his story is laced through with optimism. He finds comfort with his friends who he views as much more his family than his brother and sister and chooses to spend Christmas in the shelter, where the staff treat them with genuine kindness.

In many ways the film reminded me of David Lynch’s The Straight Story (1999) with both films detailing a journey undertaken due to possible ill health and even death. Both Alvin and Hector have an event in their past which they regret and which changes the direction of their lives. Unlike Alvin, Hector has no desire or inclination to return to the proffered loving arms of his siblings.

The disc contains only two extras, the Theatrical Trailer (2 min, 13 sec) and the Pop Promo (4 min, 13 sec) of the film's main theme song, featuring the composer Emily Barker.

Mullan gives a magnificent performance which makes it easy to empathise with Hector's self-imposed exile and although his life is hard, the character never asks anyone to feel sorry for him.


Charles Packer

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