Tugging at the heartstrings, homegrown Welsh film Sinatra Blue presents a young man processing a recent breakup and attempting to correct the mistakes he made throughout his relationship. The film’s premise is unique: Noah, played by Luke Seddon, discovers he can travel back in time to significant moments of his relationship by listening to a song on his iPod.
Sinatra Blue was created by Happy Boy Media: a small Swansea-based production company made up of two 20-year-old locals, producer Ben Murphy and director Cai Barnard-Dadds. Shot entirely in Swansea with gorgeous visuals of the Mumbles and Gower shorelines – including from Noah’s studio flat – the visuals contribute greatly to the film’s good reception, simultaneously telling the story of Noah’s healing while expressing the filmmakers’ adoration for the city they grew up in.
Seddon does an incredible job portraying a heartbroken young man, conveying the complex emotions that come with a breakup in addition to Noah’s determination to right his wrongs. One of the most inspiring moments of Sinatra Blue comes when we see Noah go for a run with his friend: it emphasises how these feelings of guilt and sorrow do not last, the light at the end of the tunnel. It would be no surprise to see Seddon in future productions.
Music is the centrepiece of Sinatra Blue. Noah’s ex-girlfriend Ellie – played by Nemone Dean, also fantastic here – is a musician, and listening to her song allows Noah to travel back in time. Dean skilfully portrays the difficulties of putting one’s own feelings first, with Ellie at times unwilling to cooperate with Noah. Murphy and Barnard-Dadds have spun a typical film genre on its head: the intertwining of music and attempted relationship fixes sets this apart from other breakup films.
Towards the end, we see Noah attending one of Ellie’s performances, and with her band playing a fitting underscore, it’s evident that Murphy and Barnard-Dadds strived to increase exposure for young Welsh musicians. Composer Joe Daley, too, produced a beautiful original score, using resources brilliantly considering Happy Boy Media’s small budget.
One minor shortfall is in the dialogue, with parts of the writing feeling slightly clichéd at times: this, though, is understandable from a two-man operation, one with the potential to develop and expand their writing team for their next projects. It is clear that the entire cast and crew put their hearts and souls into this film, and so refreshing to see this come from an upcoming Welsh production company.
Sinatra Blue was screened at the Premiere Cinema, Cardiff, on Mon 23 May. The producers are currently working on distribution deals and hope the film will be on release soon. Follow them on Instagram for more info.
words RHIANNON FARR for BUZZ CULTURE
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