Film Review: Electricity

Electricity is a film that feels like it really does have a good heart and good intentions. A desire to show truth and compassion, but sadly, tried to place this realism into a world that is just too competitive to the empathetic tone that surrounds it to sit naturally. The result is a film that feels disjointed and causes such mixed emotions that you struggle to fully engage with it.

It stars model turned actress Agyness Deyn as Lilly. A not so much down on her luck, but down on life girl who sets out in search of her brother after the death of their mother. The twist being that Lilly suffers with epilepsy and throughout her travels has to put up with the constant danger of fits and attacks.

Agyness Deyn - Electricity

The first thing that hit me is that Deyn looks the part. She fits into the tough, cracked, concrete world that she is presented visually but sadly, the personality of her character doesn’t. Ignoring the epilepsy, she just comes across as delicate and naive and without the strength needed to survive. It’s not that she comes across as thick, but you watch her walk without thought or consequence into situation after situation, placing trust where no one would before everything goes wrong as predicted. And because it’s so foolishly obvious you withdraw from her, you sit there going “Really? You’d be as idiotic as to do that, or offer that, or not realise this?”.

And then she’d had a fit.

I don’t know much about epilepsy, no one in my family suffers from it and I don’t know anyone who does either, but I am aware, through general reading and life absorption of what happens in an attack. And my layman’s knowledge is echoed into the film in a way that felt correct. The danger from falling, the incontinence, the post fit aggression and the refusal of medical help, all there and laid explicitly out in front of you. However, it’s the lead up to the fits that left me feeling removed and uneasy.

Agyness Deyn - Epilepsy - Electricity

The film, and the source of it’s title, uses an inner monologue from Lilly to explain the symptoms that precursor a fit, arriving like an unwanted, unstoppable guest. The film bringing these apparent wild, electrical storms, outer body experiences and flashes and cracks visually to life through psychedelic overlays that almost feel melodic and romantic in a appearance. I don’t know how accurate they truly are to an impending fit, but it felt wrong. I’m being told how scared she is, how this removal of power, her brain preparing to hurt her body, is petrifying and potentially fatal and yet, I’m watching images on screen that feel beautiful and inviting.

Sadly, once you’ve got past Deyn’s character, her personality and the subject of epilepsy, you have to look at the actual plot of the film, the search for her brother, and it just feels fake. There is no substance to the story and it concludes in such a linear and timely manner that it almost feels like an apology. I have a complete belief that the medical monologue is “the film” and they’ve just set in the bed of this search because it has to be set somewhere. Characters come and go without every really introducing themselves. Plot points are opened up and then forgotten; and time and time again, the film presents completely predictable bad points and completely implausible good points.

Epilepsy Fit Lightning - Electricity

You just end up sitting there, feeling ever more conflicting emotions towards a single character as she bumbles through a story that has you constantly going “well that was obvious…” before finishing the sentence in your mind with “…but she’d never be in that position to start with”.

I knew nothing about Electricity before I watched it. I have a long forgotten distant memory of it being mentioned on a podcast but that is it. I gave it a chance because the trailer seemed to show a cold, psychological British independent film about living with epilepsy and that while that preconceived idea is slowly hidden in the background, there is just too much else in front of it to ever really let the film shine.

6 out of 10 stars (6 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

Comments are closed.