Essential Travel (2013) – By Kirsten Walsh

A British drama, “Essential Travel” is a closer look at what happens when you take life too seriously in a sour economic time. Constantly moving cinematography, a light but serious score, and intense lighting give this film a definite dramatic flair. We follow Emma on a journey of self discovery and change as she embarks on a journey to visit her dying disowned sister. The film is more than just a simple story about making amends, but a comedic, troubled route for Emma to move forward in her life.

Writer/ Director Paul Bridges’ film tells several stories in the course of 40 minutes- the story of Emma (played by Tracy Gabbitas) and her journey to see her sister, the story of Emma and her deadbeat boyfriend, the story of Emma and her friend Clare, the story of Emma and her boss. It is a lot packed into a short amount of time, and there are some parts that fall slightly to the wayside. Emma’s deadbeat boyfriend has addictions that affect her in a negative way, which sets him up to be the antagonist, but it is hard to understand exactly what is going on between the two of them. Their chemistry isn’t as strong as her chemistry against the at-first-bad boss who turns good halfway through the film. The acting overall was decent, and Clare (played by Laura Yates) was the best and most humorous part of the film.

The technicalities of the film were crystal clear, with good sound and set design. All in all, the lighting was the only thing that stuck out as needing improvement. With several of the interiors, the light was a little too dramatic and bold, which didn’t settle with the tone of the film. Aside from that, the music was pleasant and perfect for the overall mood.

As Emma fights through her struggles, she finally achieves her goal by making it to see her ailing sister. The ending, Emma’s discovery of her sister, is by far my favorite part of the film, leaving the audience curious. Definitely a strong ending for a well written film.