Jetsam Movie Review

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Gritty and involving, this small British thriller is like Memento crossed with The Bourne Identity as it reveals its secrets through a fragmented structure that involves espionage and memory.

When a woman (Reid) wakes up on a beach, she's not sure what happened to her or who she is. As her memories start trickling back, she remembers being involved in a corporate spying case in London, working for one man (Shaw) while keeping an eye on her boyfriend (MacAninch). But none of this is quite adding up, and she'll need more clarity to remember the whole story. But first, she's got to get away from this stranger (Draven) who's chasing her.

As filmmaker Welsford defines the characters and offers tantalising details, we begin to realise that this woman perhaps shouldn't trust her own memories. We learn why later on, as the twisty plot resolves into a clever exploration of identity. This flickering around in a woman's confused memory is sometimes hard to follow, plus the constantly shifting point of view, but everything ultimately comes sharply into focus with an emotional kick.

Welsford and cinematographer Zac Nicholson shoot this in striking widescreen hi-def. The beach scenes have a wonderfully surreal sense to them, and it feels like even the weather was following Welsford's direction. The editing is tight and effectively disorienting, while Mat Davidson's music adds plenty of atmosphere. It's a remarkably enveloping film for such a low-budget production, and a terrific calling card for the cast and crew.

Reid is superb at the centre, both on the beach and in flashbacks as a woman who has perhaps thrown herself too fully into her job. She makes her character surprisingly engaging for someone who seems unable to sort real memories from slanted perceptions. The other actors also create complex, involving characters that surprise us as the story shifts and settles.

At several points, we get the feeling that each person is spying on everyone else. And indeed, concepts of data and identity theft are major themes here.

It's rare to find a movie that so adeptly captures the feeling of living in an age when information is the most valuable commodity. But at its heart, this is just a terrific little thriller. And it also marks Welsford as a filmmaker to watch.

Cast & Crew

Director : Simon Welsford

Producer : Simon Welsford

Starring : , , , Adam Shaw, , Richard Earthy

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Jetsam Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: 12, 2007

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