Prolific Welsh filmmaker Jamie Adams has another music-based dramedy, Love Spreads, available to download now. The Porthcawl director has carved out a definite niche for himself as a director of low-budget, swiftly-filmed, improvised comedy dramas that have a smattering of trending actors, as well as some familiar Welsh faces.
Adams’ work is intimate, personal and often wrestles with the creative process, allowing comedic moments amidst an overarching central relationship. Collaborating with his brother Ashley Adams, the films are often packed with original music. Benny & Jolene features Craig Roberts plus Charlotte Ritchie as a struggling songstress; Songbird pairs Cobie Smulders and excellent Welsh actor Richard Elis in an unlikely but sweet love story; Jennifer Grey and Suki Waterhouse star in 2019’s Bittersweet Symphony. All the films have a rambling, freewheeling feel to them and Love Spreads continues in that tradition.
Set more or less entirely at the famous Rockfield Studios just outside of Monmouth, where Oasis conjured Wonderwall and Queen Bohemian Rhapsody, the film follows band Glass Heart as they try and write that difficult second album. Lead singer Kelly, played by Alia Shawkat, is a tightly-wound leader of the band – unable to triumph over writer’s block, much to manager Nick Helm’s worry. Fighting a deadline and with no creative juices flowing, Helm enlists another of the bandmates – Alice, played by Tara Lee – to record her own songs to jumpstart the process. This does not go well: Shawkat feels threatened, and Glass Heart fractures and breaks.
A healing salve comes in the form of Eiza Gonzalez’s blast of optimism, Patricia. Adams and DOP Ryan Eddleston keep things claustrophobic in the studio, zeroing in on Shawkat’s strife and not shying away from her self-obsession and unlikability. An actor of Shawkat’s class carries us along for the ride, while a hassled Helm, Dolly Wells and Eiza Gonzalez bring welcome upbeatness in their smaller roles, but the film will be cinematic Marmite to some with its looseness and lack of easy definition. Love Spreads is another of Jamie Adams’ immersive, musically-themed films that details a moment in a band’s evolution, the pressures of creativity and the ticking clock of label deadlines.
Dir: Jamie Adams (15, 93 mins)
Streaming on iTunes now
words KEIRON SELF
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