LOLA - New Release Review
Director: Andrew Legge
Starring: Emma Appleton, Stefanie Martini, Rory Fleck Byrne, Hugh O'Connor
Written by: Andrew Legge, Angeli Macfarlane
Produced by: Alan Maher, John Wallace
Cineamtography by: Oona Menges
Original Score by: Neil Hannon
Music-loving sisters Thomasina & Martha build a machine called LOLA which can intercept broadcasts from the future. While the sisters initially use the machine for small ventures they soon realise that it may hold the key to defeating the Nazis.
If you had the power to change the future, would you? Or more importantly, should you? It’s a narrative structure that’s been explored in the past, with some of pop culture's most famous figures like Marty McFly, The Doctor and in that one episode of ‘Red Dwarf’. If fate is a straight line and you have the knowledge of what happens next, is it your responsibility to use that knowledge for the better of mankind? Or even worse, use it to improve your own life for selfish means? This is the basis for ‘LOLA’. A story we’ve seen told a thousand times in other sci-fi movies, books and games, but director Andrew Legge has found a way to tell this grand story and compress it into a bare bone, stripped back tale about two sisters who must make a difficult decision.
The sisters in question are Mars and Thom, played by Emma Appleton and Stefanie Martini respectively. Both ladies do a fantastic job, they are very believable as siblings from 1941. The era is captured well here too, especially given the film’s low budget. The use of stock footage from World War II and footage made for the film blend well. The director clearly took time and effort into what lens and cameras he used to make the footage from the past and present appear seamless. The LOLA machine itself is very low fi, which I appreciated, as some low budget films feel the need to make something you’ve never seen before and it ends up looking cheap or fake. Here, LOLA looks like a machine that could easily blend into an episode of ‘Doctor Who’.
My biggest issue with the film is the premise. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel of the time travel story (nor does it need to) but it doesn’t hold too many surprises plot wise. It kind of plays out exactly the way you think it would from reading the premise. I was hoping for something really out there or Lynchian, but it plays it a bit safe. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s visually interesting and its use of “found footage” is a great way to capture this story. It’s not very often that we get a found footage movie set this far back in time, but it’s a clever and inventive way of telling this tale.
The film’s use of modern music (more modern than the time period) was a nice touch, using songs like ‘Space Oddity’ and ‘You Really Got Me’. It’s odd to hear such music over old war footage yet it fits really well, giving the scenes a hopefulness of what we could have in the future. The score itself from Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy is fantastic. Capturing a futuristic feel and really adds to the overall impending doom of the film.
‘LOLA’ is definitely worth checking out when it hits cinemas. It’s a story told many times before but director Andrew Legge has done a lot with very little here. The real standouts are the two main performances from Appleton and Martini that have to carry the whole film through its 79-minute runtime. Their relationship and love for each other makes for a heart-breaking story when things start to take a sinister turn towards the end. I can’t wait to see what Legge does with a bigger budget and canvas to play with, but for a debut feature, I see a bright future for this director (and I didn’t even need to use LOLA.)
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- Adam Neeson
Signature Entertainment presents 'LOLA' exclusively in Cinemas 7th April