Set in the Aberdeenshire fishing town of Fraserburgh, Run follows Finnie (Mark Stanley) as he finishes his unsatisfying factory job and returns home where his anger is taken out on his wife Katie (Amy Manson) and his two sons Kid (Anders Hayward) and Stevie (Scott Murray). However, Finnie’s impulsive decision to take Kid’s car out for a late-night spin results in him picking up Kid’s pregnant girlfriend Kelly (Marli Siu) and deciding to escape his seemingly dead-end life.
Graham, who also directed the BAFTA-nominated Highlands-set Shell, provides a similar impressive look at marginalised communities in Scotland through his depiction of the limitations of Finnie’s life as well as his brief, impulsive attempt to escape from his surroundings with Kelly. In particular, Graham effectively contrasts the aggressive nature of Finnie’s interactions with his family, which show the young father to be seemingly trapped and frustrated in his job and home life, with the calmer and lighter scenes with Kelly in Kid’s car. This juxtaposition not only serves to underline the desire of the character to recapture the freedom of his boy racing youth, but also the bleak realities of the lives of the working-class inhabitants of run-down small towns such as Fraserburgh.
The performances from the cast effectively help to realise the realistic atmosphere and themes. Stanley manages to capture Finnie’s anger and frustration with how his life has ended up as well as his impulsive desire to try and recapture the dreams of his youth. In addition, Siu provides Kelly with a quirky sensibility that provides a degree of light relief in an otherwise serious film without allowing that aspect to undermine the realism of the character. Manson and Hayward provide solid support, with Manson in particular adeptly balancing Katie’s love for Finnie with her attempts to keep the peace within the family.
Run uses its central narrative to not only depict the impulsive last burst for freedom of its main character, but also the limited realities available for working-class small-town families in Scotland without having to resort to an unsubtle and overly-didactic presentation.
Available on DVD from Mon 25 May 2020