Checking In has had a new amazing review!
www,screennut.com have kindly reviewed Checking In, and we are absolutely over the moon with what they thought! Our thanks to site owner Mike Holden for his time. But enough of our words, here’s what they had to say…
Checking In delves into the lives of a number of guests around the hotel over the course of a twenty-four period during a typical working day. The story is told through the eyes of maid Radka (Nici Preston) and hotel manager Alec (Roger David Francis) and centers around five different stories including: A feuding couple that spend their time throwing insults and constantly trying to outdo each other, a struggling singer who is promoted by a manager that fails to see her full potential, a couple of cos-players trying to figure out where they fit into society, an Asian wedding with a runaway bride, and finally, a couple that meet up for a one night stand, only to discover the night turning into something they did not expect as they find themselves sharing buried secrets.
Checking In is British anthology film by six directors that tells five unique stories. It centres around the ordinary lives of several different guests staying at the Baron’s Court Hotel over a twenty-four hour period. Now, anthology stories are a great approach to film making. That being said, it is not an easy task to deliver a film with diverse content through varied styles of direction and writing, whist maintaining the overall tone of the film and having it flow seamlessly from start to finish without feeling like you are watching several badly chopped sections that don’t quite fit together. Fortunately, Checking In is not one of those films. What I expected going in was a film about everyday people going about their everyday lives. To that end, that is exactly what I got and at the very basics of it that is precisely what Checking In is. However, what I did not expect was the journey of a wide range of emotions, thoughts and feelings that it took me on. Expecting nothing more than a nicely told drama I really got much more than I hoped for.
In the first story; Ted & Mary (played by Ernest Vernon and Suzanne Kendal-Morgan), we follow a classically British squabbling couple that seem to loath each other vehemently and enjoy nothing more than trading insults and putting each other down at every given opportunity. In Ted and Mary, we have the seemingly long-suffering husband and the perpetually nagging wife that are in constant battle of verbal one-upmanship , and you can’t help but wonder why on Earth they stay together. This opening story to the film is brilliantly comical and not at all what I was expecting at all. I couldn’t help but smile all the way through and Vernon gives a particularly wonderful performance. With such animosity between these two great characters, are they destined for divorce?
Sally & Tim (played by Michelle Cox and David Claridge) takes on a whole different tone. This story focuses on the hopes and dreams of a struggling artist with unacknowledged potential. Sally really is a wonderful character and you feel her despair at feeling held back and not being able to reach the heights that she dreams about. It doesn’t help that she has the misfortune of having the worst manager you could ever dread to meet. He is unwelcomely obnoxious and dismissive, and offers her no support whatsoever. Cox plays the part really well and you really do pity her circumstances and genuinely want the best for her. She also has a naturally great singing voice that only adds to the warmth that you already feel towards her character, but will she find the spark of happiness and recognition that she so desperately craves?
Ed & Jenessa (played by Christopher Smart and Laura Evenson) follows the story of two cos-play strangers. This (to me) is a tale of two people coming together in a world that discriminates against them because they don’t conform to ‘social normality’. For all intents and purposes they are outcasts, and there is an obvious sense of loneliness and sadness to the character of Ed who wants nothing more than to be accepted for what he is, no matter how he comes across to other people as the result of his interests or how he dresses and spends his spare time. This is a great story of lost souls finding each other.
In Ren & Kalpna (played by Phil Stanley and Reynah Oppal) we meet a bride on the run. This story takes a more dramatic turn from the others and focuses more on the initial consequences experienced by Kalpna as the result of bad choices propelled by a situation of circumstance. In her desperate escape she meets hotel guest Ren; a quiet and private man that has no interest in getting involved with her situation. The story of these two characters is quite lovely and there is a great chemistry, not only between the characters, but also (and specifically) between Stanley and Oppal too. They just seemed to work extremely well together on screen and I really became emotionally invested in their individual stories.
Finally, the story of Pete & Aaron (played by Connor McKenzy and Tony Gibbons) delves into a more delicate subject matter as we follow the touching story of a man struggling against the confusion of his sexuality. It is written beautifully and complimented by strong performances, predominantly by McKenzy, who gives a inspiring portrayal of a man struggling with his own sense of guilt and hesitance at publicly and personally acknowledging his homosexuality. This final part is deep-rooted in emotion and had me captivated from start to finish. It is full of heart and gave me a great goosebump moment. As the final story, Pete & Aaron is a wonderful piece of juxtaposition to that of the first and a great way to climax the film.
Checking In is a success through and though. What could have been a typical anthology drama turned out to be a truly marvellous film full of surprises that takes you on a roller coaster of emotions. It also boasts are great soundtrack and some perfectly fitting musical scores. Each writer/director has given their own unique styling to the film, whilst maintaining the overall tone of the film. Nothing feels out of place and the film flows smoothly from its great beginning to its gripping climax. Checking In is a credit to each of their individual talents. My recommendation for Checking In is check it out. You will not be disappointed.
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