Magpie is reminiscent of earlier social realist dramas. The damaged characters are similar to those found in Ken Loach’s films. Combine these characters with the method and preparation of a Mike Leigh film and you begin to get a sense of what Magpie looks and feels like. As we watch the efforts of loyal friends, failing fathers and a mourning mother unravel, the characters begin to self destruct in their own separate ways. A tale of loss, failure and abandonment, Magpie is enchanting and engaging. The first half of the film moves at a delightful pace and a perfect balance of wit and woe is reached. As the plot develops, along with the characters, we find ourselves hoping for a resolution; a resolution for an unresolvable circumstance.
Phil Deguara’a striking performance cemented the characters and subtlety kept driving the story. Daisy Aitkens and Craig Russell worked perfectly together on screen and seemed to propel and compliment the other’s performance. Alastair Kirton’s performance gave the film a certain charm and likeability that also highlighted the flaws of the other characters. Magpie succeeds in telling a story that never revolves around one protagonist. It is the collective faults and struggles of each individual that makes this film so heartfelt and so believable.
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