Director: Ben Cura
Cast: Ben Cura, Christian McKay, Andrea Deck
Running Time: 100 minutes
Relationships can be intense. They can be complicated and dramatic and full of ups and downs, but when a young crippled artist called Freddie Lynch (Ben Cura) meets an admirer of his work called Grant Pierce (Christian McKay) his whole relationship is brought into question. CREDITORS focuses on Freddie and his wife Chloe (Andrea Deck). Freddie is staying in a hotel whilst Chloe is away, and when stranger Grant introduces himself as a fan of Freddie’s work, Freddie invites Grant to stay with him at the hotel. The pair develop a unique and at times inexplicable relationship, and Grant encourages Freddie to face the issues within his troubled relationship, as well as face up to himself.
In CREDITORS, director Ben Cura explores the complexities and nuances in relationships in a charismatic and oftentimes morose fashion. Ex relationships, friendships, relationships with oneself are all a target of Cura’s focus and are investigated in a way that creates an atmosphere of tension and intensity. The film highlights male anxieties and insecurities whilst also looking at love, betrayal, manipulation and grief. All of these topics are dealt with, with a stylish ambience that engages the audience. Gender stereotypes and gender roles are put into question as is one’s emotional stability and the positions of power within a relationship.
CREDITORS is the directorial and writing debut of Cura and it is an impressive one. Not only is the narrative itself incredibly well-developed but the cinematography and direction is utilised in a way that aids the storytelling. For example, the camera techniques used mirror the emotion on the screen. When the scene features Grant in a position of control the camera is fitted to a tripod, which provides calm, steady camera motion. When the scene involves Chloe (Freddie’s wife) or memories/Freddie’s past the camera is hand-held offering a less controlled, more manic camera movement to mimic the erratic emotion evident in those scenes.
Cura made the decision to film CREDITORS in black and white due to having to film on location in Madrid, offering a less vibrant visual mise en scene to capture the tone of the film more appropriately. Whilst this may seem pretentious in other films, it appears to fit CREDITORS well and any pretensions are waylaid and lost in the film’s intriguing narrative.
There is a strong focus on the speech within CREDITORS, and although the film is an adaptation of a Swedish play by August Strindberg, Cura has done an outstanding job of creating an intelligent and thought-provoking script. Elongated scenes provide beautiful imagery and vignettes of the Spanish landscape that are interspersed with clever and well-developed script. These long, meaningful scenes bring with them an almost arthouse styling that adds to the charisma and allure of Cura’s magnetic film.
CREDITORS is a beautiful, sometimes angry and surprising film that brings with it strong performances from the entire cast as well as an unexpected yet welcome twist. Cura has produced, written and directed a piece of film that he should be very proud of, and one that demonstrates an incredible aptitude for intense, thought-provoking cinema. He is one to watch out for, as is CREDITORS.