This is a film that wasn’t really on my radar until recently. I’d heard a few things about it from festivals but it wasn’t until the trailers started popping up a few weeks ago that I was fully aware of it. When the opportunity came to go to an advanced screening with my Cineworld Unlimited card, I decided to give it a go and I’m really glad I did. This is one of the best rom coms I’ve seen for a long time.
The film follows Yas and Dom, two people who have recently exited relationships who bump into each other at an art gallery, after Yas catches Dom crying in the toilets. The film follows them as they travel around Peckham and Brixton with each other, getting to know each other and getting involved in their personal lives. Now there is a clear influence of the works of people like Richard Linklater and Richard Curtis on this film and it follows a lot of the tropes you expect from rom coms, but there’s nothing wrong with that. These kinds of stories work for a reason and the film does a good job at making you believe the relationship between the two as it grows across the film. The script makes every decision the two make and all of their interactions feel natural and sweet and you find yourself endeared to the two of them throughout the film. It also does a good job looking at topics like emotional distress, the fear of failure and how personal guilt can hide what the greater truth for a person can be. It also helps that the film is incredibly funny. This is the most I’ve laughed at a film in ages and there is a clear element of truth in all of the jokes. As I’ve said before, the hardest type of film to describe is a good comedy as you don’t want to spoil the jokes, but rest assured that I was laughing my head off throughout the film.
The performances as well add to the charm of the film. There’s a very natural chemistry between David Jonsson and Vivian Oparah, having the right mix of awkward and endearing to make you believe in how they grow closer to each other throughout the film. It’s also good how Jonsson is the one at the start that’s more open with his emotions, being more willing to cry, with him being more willing to share his pain of his breakup, showing how he’s more open, but also showing how easy it is for him to blame himself for what has gone wrong, showing a lack of self confidence that becomes less apparent as the film goes on. Oparah meanwhile works well in making Yas a more outgoing character, someone who is more spontaneous on the surface, this working well in helping Dom come out of his shell, but it’s also clear that this is hiding deep seated insecurities and, as the film goes on, these come more to the forefront, which helps make the conflicts in the third act feel believable. There’s also good work in smaller roles from Benjamin Sarpong-Bro, Karene Peter, Malcolm Atobrah, Gary Beadle and Omari Douglas, with fun cameos from Levi Roots, Munya Chawawa (who was brilliant on Taskmaster) and Colin Firth.
The technical side of the film is also excellent. The direction from Raine Allen-Miller and cinematography from Olan Collardy has a very vibrant, colourful style, making great use of long takes and fisheye lenses to create a distinct visual style for the film. The way the film is shot also demonstrates a clear love for this area of London, giving it the same level of affection that you get for areas like Notting Hill in Richard Curtis films. It also finds unique ways to stage key scenes in the film, with the scenes where Dom and Yas describe their break ups being presented as a cinema trip and a stage show respectively, with parts of these recreations showing up after they finish, like a drink from a Picturehouse cinema in Yas’ hand. This also demonstrates the brilliant editing throughout the film, which adds to the dynamic and vibrant feel of the film, making the most of its 82 minute run time and keeping the pacing and flow of the film feel tight. There’s a great use of music as well, with a good few artists playing themselves, which adds to the authenticity of the film.
Overall, I had a great deal of fun with Rye Lane. On the surface this could be a more run of the mill rom com, but it has a great heart to it, aided by a tight script and strong performances, with a vibrant nature that helps it stand out as something more unique, helping to make it a very fun watch.
My Rating: 5/5