Based on actual events, this is a story of how relationships under the influence of the Internet. Mark, who is a reasonably well-adjusted sixteen-year-old, is pulled into a compelling relationship with Rachel, a girl his age he has never met. The two become obsessed with each other and with computer sex in their typed conversations. Rachel asks Mark to watch out for John, her friendless younger brother who happens to be in Mark’s class. When Mark does what Rachel asks she also enlists Mark for help against Rachel’s abusive boy friend. This is a story that is driven by Internet connectivity and Britain’s surveillance technology. UWANTME2KILLHIM? Is directed by Andrew Douglas from a screenplay by Mike Walden. Walden plays some tricks on the viewer that are revealed at the end of the film.
Rating: high +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10.
This film is based on a true story. In Northern England, Mark (played by Jamie Blackley) has been arrested for murder by the police. He has nearly killed a man. Not contrite Mark insists to Detective Inspector Sarah Clayton (Joanne Froggatt) that he did it for the greater good, and that he is a hero. The police have no idea what he is talking about. Flash back three months. Mark now is a fairly normal sixteen year-old whose social life is half in the real world and half in the interconnected world of the Internet. In addition to his real girl-friend he is also fascinated by a girl he knows only through a computer screen. She is Rachel (Jaime Winstone) and Mark is fascinated with her. But in some ways she is less than ideal. She has a brother John (Toby Regbo) in Mark’s class who is an easy mark for the school bullies. Rachel herself is bullied by her unwanted ex-boyfriend, Kevin (Mingus Johnston). Once involved with computer sex with Rachel, Mark will help her in any way he can. Soon he is involved in a much bigger game when he is asked to help out the military intelligence unit MI5.
Mark is only sixteen years old but has enough confidence in himself to try to do something that should be asked of an adult. He is excited and willing to be an agent for MI5. He may feel some trepidation, but he wants to go ahead and see if he can be his own James Bond. But he does not face the daily torment of bullies the way John does. John is quick to reason, but having been intimidated by the school toughs he lacks his new friend’s confidence. Between them they have one complete person.
Director Andrew Douglas puts the viewer into the mind of Mark. Every scene is really from Mark’s point of view so the viewer knows just what he knows when he makes his own decisions. Unfortunately, this technique is not sufficient to keep us strictly within Mark’s head. What he only eventually discovers probably was in the viewer’s mind as a possibility all along. To some degree, the film looks down on Mark for being slow to understand what was happening. Still, Blackley and Regbo turn in fairly convincing performances as the two teen leads of the story. While much of the cast may be unfamiliar lot of people who do not even know the name of Joanne Froggatt will recognise her instantly for a different role as Anna Bates on ‘Downton Abbey’.
When the film is over, some viewers may come away feeling that Douglas and Walton have not strictly followed the rules commonly followed by cinema. Viewers may feel they have been intentionally misled. Well, they have. But that can be a directors’ prerogative. I rate ‘UWANTME2KILLHIM?’ a high +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 6/10.
Mark R. Leeper
© Mark R. Leeper 2014