“We’re not too keen on the artwork provided by the distributors” say Jack in the Box Films on their Facebook page about OFF PISTE, a movie they produced. Gilt Edge Media’s sleeve design is certainly eye-catching, but it’s not particularly representative of the content, though then again neither is the synopsis on IMDb which was used for the DVD.
So let’s ignore that slight curveball, and correct it by saying that Stanley Winters (Henry Douthwaite) is a former member of the SAS, who following a horrific accident retires to the French Alps to care for his blind mother. Twelve years later, Niamh O’Brian (Lara Lemon) is desperate to get revenge for the tragedy that decimated her family, and begins the search for the man responsible. However, with Niamh’s sudden disappearance leaving a host of unanswered questions back in her Belfast home, her boyfriend begins the chase to find out just where Niamh has gone, and who the person is that she’s travelled hundreds of miles to track down.
In the wake of Gilt Edge Media unleashing a swathe of bottom shelf material in recent weeks like Road Wars, Joker’s Poltergeist and The Purging Hour, the arrival of Off Piste is an unexpected delight. The mountainous setting is perfect for this tale of retribution and redemption, and DP Antony Meadley captures the wintry solitude well. The real surprise is the ambition shown by director Glen Kirby and his crew, as for a film with an alleged budget of £25,000, it carries all the hallmarks of a movie that cost ten times that.
Fleshed out characters, intelligently written dialogue and deftly constructed exposition – not the usual qualities of a DTV’er making its debut onto the shelves of your local supermarket. Admittedly those picking up Kirby’s film with the expectation of a gun-toting orgy of violence will be left sorely disappointed, as this feature lies firmly in the drama department of the genre spectrum with its steady pacing and unhurried exposition. If though, you like the occasional gamble on a tightly wound slice of British independent filmmaking, then this will make for a satisfying nights entertainment.
Off Piste is currently a retail exclusive with the UK supermarket chain ASDA, and will go on general release from the 17th October.