Film Review: Hector


Writer-director Jake Gavin’s Hector is an earnest story of the realities of homelessness. Nevertheless, the film lacks a spark.

Hector has been living on the streets for years. After an appointment, Hector sets off on his annual pilgrimage from Scotland to London. There, he hopes to spend Christmas at a temporary shelter…

Hector is Jake Gavin’s directorial debut. Gavin also wrote the film, which concentrates on homelessness in the modern day. Performances in the picture are good, but there is an unshakeable feeling that something is missing.

If the point of the film is to shed light on a little viewed section of society, then Hector is a success. The film conveys the hardships of those living on the streets without resorting to gross sentimentality. However, if the Gavin aims to do more than this, then the film falters. The narrative takes place over the Christmas period. The film uses this facility appropriately to demonstrate the perils of rough sleeping in Winter. There is an authenticity to proceedings; Hector is not a glossy Christmas movie.

The film concentrates almost entirely on its title character. Hector’s journey is supposed to hook viewers. Gavin retains a sense of mystery to the protagonist’s background; details are revealed gradually as the film progresses. The major problem with the film is that what occurs is not that enthralling. Whilst the audience almost certainly will root for the protagonist, there is a timidity to proceedings that does not engender memorability.

It is good to see Peter Mullan in a different type of role as the title character. He is believable throughout the film. Support in the film is perfectly fine, but without any stand-out performances. Cinematography is best in the landscape shots.

Hector should be praised for depicting a character and circumstance not often focused on in mainstream film. It is just a shame that the story could not be more compelling.

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