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Justine (2021) Review

The new British drama by director Jamie Patterson, Justine explores the story of a broken character who slowly falls into a pit of self destruction. As the film starts, we see Justine fully clothed in a bath with the door knocking very loudly. It’s clear that she isn’t in a good place as her landlord demands the rent otherwise she is being evicted. Shortly after that, she is sick in the bath which shows Justine at a very precarious time in her life. The film then jumps back in time to where Justine is in a slightly better place but it’s evident that she has a drinking problem and is suffering from past trauma. As the running time ticks by, the film explores some areas where her life has dwindled, but it’s a very bleak and emotionless story that fails to grip or feel empathy towards the character. Her self-destructive behaviour is clear to see throughout but there aren’t many opportunities or moments for the character to get any redemption or to sympathise with. In the end, we’re left with a performance which is disappointing and one that fails to make the audience feel anything at all.

Directed by Jamie Patterson, we had the privilege to see his film from last year. Tucked was a brilliant indie drama that came in the middle of last year and shocked us at how good it was. The story was more cohesive and we felt more emotionally connected to the main character. Patterson has missed the trick of implementing what worked so well with Tucked and failed to inject his winning formula into Justine. What did work well for Justine was its great use of location. Filmed in Brighton, it felt like the perfect backdrop for the character and the film. Patterson clearly knows the area well and utilised his knowledge of the city to present some brilliant imagery of Brighton and showed it off well.

In conclusion, it was a disappointing film. One that we were very much looking forward to but in the end, it fails to tie up some loose ends in the storyline that have us scratching our heads. Although it deals with a dark subject matter of alcoholism, Justine doesn’t take a deeper dive into the psyche of Justine. Although this could have been done on purpose, it does leave you feeling like you haven’t learnt much about the character, apart from the typical family tropes of fallout and mistrust. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel on addiction based movies, and with that in mind, it’s not one that you should go out of your way of seeing anytime soon. 

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