A boy meets a girl in Tim Barrow’s Edinburgh-based love story with a difference, The Space Between. A simple tale in essence complicated by the individual griefs that the two main characters, Steven (Tim Barrow) and Lisa (Vivien Reid) are struggling with, The Space Between is a complex, visually poetic and lyrical work that keeps you engaged from start to finish.
Swirls of dark humour and ambiguity permeate this carefully crafted film, particularly when “The Man” (David Whitney) appears. A mysterious, sarcastic – Angel? Devil? Conscience? Figment of the character’s imaginations? – thankfully, we never find out, as he provides the film with an extra layer of meaning and humour to the film.
But it is the combination of music and imagery (the essence of film, after all) that make The Space Between a special viewing experience. With the dialogue deliberately stripped back to a minimum, Tim Barrow and his team were rightly confident that the story and two main protagonists would be intriguing enough for audiences to prevent them needing to overstate the conflicts and turmoils that Steven and Lisa are struggling with. For minutes at a time, the excellent score by Fiona Rutherford and Freemoore holds the film as you are given time to engage on a deeper level with the characters and story. It is a quietly ambitious and daring approach, and one that pays off. The Space Between is a perfect example of why we at TLFR spend time supporting independent film and filmmakers – it is simply worth it to get the chance to see a different type of film.
Clearly, The Space Between is not your average popcorn flick. Shot in just 17 days in a (remarkably) rain-free Edinburgh, with the city almost a character in it’s own right, it is fair to describe The Space Between as an art house movie. Yet despite the often bleak issues being dealt with – Steven is running away from London following the loss of his child and collapse of his life, Lisa is alone and, when not working, cuts herself with stanley knives, a sudden mugging occurs and the option of suicide and despair for our protagonists is never far from the surface – The Space Between is not some grim and gritty drama-fest. Instead it is intelligent, playful, even light-hearted and ultimately remarkably romantic and up-beat. A special note should also be made of the excellent editing of the film by Anthony Bueno.
If you get the chance, do go and see this film and enjoy it for what it is: clever yet unpretentious, charming without being cloying, bold and ambitious without being arrogant, with flashes of brilliance and humour, and an excellent score.
And I’m still saying that the little tear in my eye at the end was nothing more than the early onset of hayfever. Honest.
Review by David Ollerton
Dave is the Editor of TLFR and a freelance writer. As well as a guest on BBC radio and regular appearances on the television show Reel Review, he has written for The Guardian, We Got This Covered, the International Political Forum and more.