New British indie The Search for Simon mixes sci-fi, mystery and comedy into what Monty Python’s Terry Jones calls “a triumph”. We take a look…
30 years ago, David’s younger brother Simon disappeared without a trace and has never been seen since. David is still looking, and the search for Simon has become his life.
The Search for Simon straddles multiple genres, from comedy to sci-fi to mystery, yet through calamitous production values, over-the-top acting and clumsy camerawork, pulls off none convincingly.
Its Snakes on a Plane-esque title leaves little to the imagination: David Jones (Martin Gooch) has spent most of his life travelling the globe in a search for his brother Simon, who’s been missing for the past thirty years. David believes Simon to be the victim of a UFO abduction, and finds himself consumed by his search while his friends and family look on with disdain.
While most of the supporting cast gnaw at the scenery, Gooch gives a tolerable performance, allowing us to sympathise somewhat for David in a role that could easily have been the subject of ridicule. Much of that is down to the script, which – with a bigger budget – could easily have made for a far more successful film.
That’s not to dismiss low-budget films, but when the money isn’t there, the talent needs to be. Clearly, The Search for Simon isn’t taking itself too seriously, but the twisting nature of the script would certainly have lent itself more to a cast and crew that could have done more with it. Gooch knows his audience, littering his dialogue with references to iconic British sci-fi icons like Doctor Who and Douglas Adams – but he doesn’t know how to nail the tone of his film.
The comedy, while not laugh-out-loud funny, is constant enough that when the more serious, emotional reveals come, they jar with what we’ve become accustomed to – particularly from a film which features a spaceship landing on a cow. It’s not all bad; there are a few chuckles to be had, and the final reveal adds surprising depth to the characters.
Still, it’s hard to recommend The Search for Simon when such a short script (the film is only 97 minutes long) could be trimmed of at least 20 minutes of fat and still have the same impact. It’s also difficult to recommend it when said impact is so negated by the jarring tone. If anything, it does show Gooch’s ability as a writer, and with a little fine-tuning, he may find more success as a screenwriter.
But sadly, the acting/directing paths of his career fall rather flat here.
Written by Chris Wharfe
Directed by: Martin Gooch
Written by: Martin Gooch
Starring: Martin Gooch
Released: 2013 / Genre: Comedy/Sci-Fi / Country: UK / IMDB