Director: Jevon O'Neill
Writing Credits: Jevon O'Neill;Jason Rothwell
Released in 1996
Bruce Jones: Robert Askew
Charlotte Jones: Angela
Brian Glover: The Boss
Ricky Tomlinson: Jack
Full cast list is available at http://www.guerilla-films.com/bob/cast_list.htm
Life is plodding onwards fairly steadily for middle-aged security guard Bob, until one Friday night he is fired from his job, and discovers his wife is having an affair. He heads off to Blackpool, with the intention of killing himself, though he is determined to do so in a dignified manner. Over the weekend, Bob meets Angela, a student from Manchester, and they strike up a friendship that changes Bob's outlook forever.
Bob, his family and Angela, are essentially real-world characters, while many of the other characters in the film are more archetypal than realistic. One of the most striking of these is the wise old Jamaican shopkeeper, who keeps all his clocks stopped at nine o'clock - for this is his hour - and who sells Bob an almost complete set of Encyclopædia Britannica and the uniform of a Bolivian Naval Officer.
Bob himself is a security guard, who lives in Manchester with his wife and her daughter. He knows all about everything, as long as it begins with 'B'and there is an incident on his past that he tries not to think about.
Angela, the other main character, is perhaps the most realistic of the charaters. A psychology student, she is understanding and friendly to Bob, though she maintains a certain distance, as if she has secrets of her own.
Also worthy of note are a couple of the leering-est carnival folk ever to man a shy, Bob's Brian Glover and his scabby partner, and the woman who prepares us all for death. She seems nice.
'Surreal' seems to be the word of choice for reviewers of this film, though the writers keep the really wacky stuff to a respectable minimum - many of the scenes are improbable, but few are downright impossible. Despite the suicide theme, the tone is never allowed to sink too low, and some scenes are very funny indeed.
I really enjoyed this film. I'm a psychology graduate myself, so the case-study nature of the film appealed to me, and my brother is a film student, so I am used to low-budget British films. The script is strong, strong enough to avoid being vitiated by the odd bit of TV-grade acting. It is a good story, told with focus, style and humanity, tending a little slow in parts, but if you are enjoying the characterisation and quiet humour, you won't mind. I found myself treating the film with the same non-judgmental understanding as Angela treats Bob, and this approach paid dividends.
Official Site: http://www.guerilla-films.com/bob/