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Film Review: Outlawed

10 October 18 words: Ashley Carter

The independent action thriller from Nottingham's Adam Collins and Luke Radford hit Cineworld Nottingham for a weekend of charity screenings...

Director: Adam Collins and Luke Radford

Starring: Adam Collins, Jessica Norris, Ian Hitchens

Running time: 102 mins

To make any feature film is a lengthy, lonely and often enormously unrewarding process.  It takes over your life, ensuring that every waking moment is consumed with making decisions, be they creative, administrative or logistical. To go through this already difficult process without funding takes Herculean levels of determination, drive, focus and ambition, not to mention an enormous set of balls.  That’s the six-year process that co-directors Adam Collins and Luke Radford have just endured in creating Outlawed, their debut independent action thriller. Their rewards were a weekend of charity screenings at Cineworld Nottingham and a worldwide distribution deal that includes America, Korea, Mexico, Japan and Canada. 

As well as sharing directing duties, Collins also wrote, produced and starred as Jake O’Neil, a former Royal Marines Commando who is struggling to adjust to civilian life following a failed mission in which a young child was killed. With both his personal and professional life in a rapid downward spiral, O’Neil is at rock bottom when an encounter with a former girlfriend gives him renewed purpose.  Having sought answers about the nature of her father’s death, Jade (Jessica Norris) enlists O’Neil to help unravel a web of deception, corruption and murder that quickly reveal a high profile member of the Government, Harold Archibald (Ian Hitchens), has played a significant role in both of their pasts.  With fresh motivation, O’Neil overcomes his personal demons in order to seek revenge on the nefarious Archibald, culminating in an explosive, high-octane and hugely impressive shootout in Nottingham’s Council House.

The filmmakers didn’t wait around for someone to give them the money, they went out and actually made a film

Both Collins and Radford deserve enormous respect for their achievements in creating a film that has secured worldwide distribution.  Along the way, they’ve employed hundreds of members of Nottingham’s filmmaking community, as well providing industry experience for students at both Confetti and New College Nottingham. The resultant film shows little signs of being shot over a period of six years without significant financial backing, as the plot sets off at a kinetic pace and doesn’t cease until the final credits.  A rich variety of locations take us from a bleak, snow-covered graveyard, through an abandoned warehouse, on to a sizeable car-yard and to the glamour of a casino, ensuring that visually, Outlawed is never stilted.  This owes much to the film’s cinematographers, whose adroit, ambitious camera work adds significant production value that betrays the film’s budget.  Whilst it will naturally appeal to Nottingham residents who will be entertained by the frequent, beautifully shot city landscapes, the film’s appeal isn’t restricted to novelty. 

Whether you’re a fan of the final film or not, Outlawed should be the new blue print for which independent filmmakers in Nottingham, who are either struggling to get financial backing or wish to make a film outside of the studio system, should utilise to get their projects completed. The filmmakers didn’t wait around for someone to give them the money, they went out and actually made a film, and achieved some genuinely impressive results. Sure, the film won’t suit everyone’s tastes, but very few films do. What matters most is that Outlawedis a film that knows exactly what it is, which audience it is appealing to and ticks all of the appropriate boxes along the way. 

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