I came bya film directed by the Iranian-British director Babak Anvari and written together with Namsi Khanis available on Netflix.
A crime thriller that winks at major political themes.
Babak Anvariwhich debuted in 2016 with Under the Shadowmakes a film that is in some ways ambiguous. I came by it begins as a classic opera based on the clash of generations, continues on the path of horror and ends as a thriller. The director manages to create some suspense, but is that enough?
I came by The plot of the movie
Toby (George Mackay) and Jay (Prcelle Ascott) are two writers who go around, breaking into the homes of rich people, writing on the walls the tag that gives the title to the film. Toby lives with his mother Lizzie (Kelly Macdonald) but their relationship is not idyllic. Jay, on the other hand, lives with Naz (Varada Sethu), his girlfriend, who discovers she is pregnant. The future fatherhood convinces Jay to get away from Toby, who decides to continue the graffiti business alone. One day he enters the rich home of Hector Blake (Hugh Bunneville), a former judge who hides some brutal mysteries.
The social conflict in the film I came by
The film is set in a very modern London, but the beginning of the film, in some ways, seems to bring to light the social conflict experienced by Londoners at the time of the Iron Lady. We are not, however, in the seventies. The story takes place in our day and the echo of the protests of the lower classes against Margaret Thatcher disappears almost immediately.
In the film, however, there is a perceptible sub-track addressed to the social and to issues that affect politics, not only English, but global, and the clash between rich and poor starts the narrative.
Toby and Jay are presented as contemporary Robin Hoods, but they don’t need to steal from the rich to give to the poor. The two friends, very common boys, are content to sneak into the homes of the rich and leave their signature on the walls: I came by.
There is no shortage of explicit references to class difference, such as when Toby is on the subway and manages to fork out money for a typical London businessman in favor of a poor beggar. All this happens through a nice and Machiavellian stratagem. And the small house where Toby lives, along with his mother, contrasts with the sumptuous homes of the victims chosen by him and Jay.
We are in 2022 and the social conflict is very different from that experienced in the 1970s. Economic differences matter, but there is more to make the situation much more complex.
The social and economic crisis experienced by the characters in this film roughly mirrors that currently experienced by the European middle class. Lizzie, Toby’s mother, played by Kelly Macdonald (Madden), she is not a worker, but a psychologist, who alone raised her son and Toby, who, like many young people today, has not yet decided which path to follow. Social references are also dedicated to Jay, a young black man, worker and partly persecuted by the police.
The disturbing mystery
The social theme of the film is palpable in the first few minutes. Later it does not disappear completely, but acquires a mysterious tone, poised between thriller and horror. This comes with the introduction of Sir Hector Blake, a seemingly respectable man. The former judge, played by Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey II – A new era), embodies typically liberal values, in the Anglo-Saxon sense. The man defends the rights of political refugees and openly declares himself a defender of the LGBTQ community, but hides a mystery and a gruesome double life.
To discover his secret is Toby, who has broken into his house to sign the wall of the sumptuous villa of the former judge. The boy, however, discovers the horrible mystery of the man in the basement.
The director, in the manner of classic films by Alfred Hitchcockcreates effective suspense, before revealing the identity of the disturbing secret.
From thriller to horror (spoiler attention).
I came by he takes the path of the slasher and Hector Blake acquires the connotations of the evil antagonist, in search of his young victims.
Not only Toby and Lizzie end up under the clutches of Hector Blake, but also the young homosexual masseur of Middle Eastern origin. It is to the latter that the former judge confesses his past. A traumatic childhood, lived in a boarding school, after having discovered the corpse of the suicidal mother.
But the deepest trauma, Hector Blake experienced through the fault of his father, whose portrait is in plain sight in his elegant living room.
“But whether I like it or not, he’s the one who made me the man I am ”.
The former judge inherited his morbid homosexuality from his father, corrupting a young and beautiful servant.
The dual and unhealthy personality of the former judge seems to mirror the representation of his elegant home. What is visible, in fact, appears all in good taste, but as soon as you go down the level and reach the basement, a diametrically opposite reality emerges. And his obsession with having his guests take off their shoes turns out to be a telltale note to his evil soul.
I came by it has all the credentials to be an excellent film, but at the end of the viewing one is perplexed. We do not fully understand the true intentions of the director who took inspiration from real events, and then fictionalized them to the extreme.
The story, despite the connections to the social fabric, does not have a real climax and when there is it is really weak. Furthermore, the emotions experienced by the characters are strong, especially those of Lizzie, but they are unable to cross empathically with the viewer.
The reason for this is that the film claims to be several things at once. I came by it is like a large cauldron where the cook has started cooking the most diverse dishes and in the end each taste is confused with the other.