As we are immediately thrown into this picture, we meet a group of individuals you wouldn’t be surprised to see turn up on the Jeremy Kyle show – but we quickly realise there is more to these characters than what meets the eye. Sweeping shots of Kent’s vast seaside town of Margate fill the screen as a serene tune masks a drug deal going down and celebrations commencing. The familiar message of when it goes your way it’s great, but when it goes wrong it really goes wrong, hangs over proceedings like a heavy cloud.
Our leading man Jake (Nathanael Wiseman) seems to be caught up in somewhat of a family business of pushing, yet seeing him help a ‘superhero dressed’ girl down off a roof, it’s evident this man is much more than just a drug dealer. As he takes it upon himself to bring 9 year old Jade back to her alcoholic father, he finds himself in a rather sticky situation as his anger gets the better of him. Coming from what appears to be dysfunctional family himself, Jake finds himself taking care of her much to the surprise of his on/off girlfriend Kim.
Initially, this appears to be a hard hitting tale, yet under the surface it is a nifty little experience. Drugs aside, the films undertones tackle human relationships, family and friendship alike. This is really about taking care of yourself and people taking care of you. As Jake is left alone in the world except for his greedy mate Alfie, he latches onto Jade almost to provide her with the care he never had. When a social worker appears on the scene, things become a little more complicated than excepted, not to mention the rather dodgy deal Alfie and Jake are about to try and pull off.
As Jake utters ‘You ain’t Scarface’, sadly this works as a brief reminder than neither is Hard Tide, as no doubt all the ingredients are there, but this doesn’t come off quite as planned. Quarrel after quarrel commences and it seems as though we are going round in circles, watching the same scene over and over again just with different angry faces. Credit where credit is due, this is not an entirely bad take on the popular drug infused choice of narrative; but one can’t help but think if only this was toned down just a touch, this really could have been a nitty, gritty and more importantly interesting independent feature.
A film with massive potential that was hindered by clichéd writing and ounces of predictability. Not without its laughs and endearing moments – but in ultimately this portrays just how brutal life can be, and after a while it becomes an arduous experience for the viewer too, despite the feature’s short running time.