“Summertime, 1994. In a quiet mining village just outside Doncaster, a rumour stirs about the legend of a giant carp in the nearby decoy ponds. Trevor takes watch one night at the water's edge. The following night, he decides to lead a brigade of young friends and neighbours on a fishing expedition. In a world of broken families, cassette tapes and rumbling political fever, these friends, each with their own struggles to bear, share a moment of harmony that they will never forget.”
Firstly, let me be clear, I liked this movie as I was watching it and can honestly say it was an enjoyable 100 minutes. If I weren’t writing a review about it I probably would’ve left it at that. Would I tell other people they should watch it? Not sure. Maybe. Would I watch it again as soon as I got the chance? Highly doubtful. Would I forget most of the plot and possibly even the name within a year? Probably!
At first glance ‘Pond Life’ is reminiscent of those glorious 90s “British working class movies” such as ‘The Full Monty’ and ‘Brassed Off’. But whereas those movies had a lot of anger at their core and used humour and storytelling to bring attention to real issues of unemployment, poverty and oppression of the working class, ‘Pond Life’ only hints at those issues half heartedly and seems to exploit the image of the “delinquent youths” from the 90s with their dirt bikes and their bright coloured nylon tracksuits, sitting on discarded sofas on the grass, for a cool and retro aesthetics. That’s the only reason I can think of for it being set in the early 90s, as the plot does not demanded it in any way.
An iconic, instant classic that we watch in decades to come it might not be, but ‘Pond Life’ boasts beautiful cinematography, a reasonably interesting plot that unfolds in a timely manner and treats it’s subject matter with due sensitivity and most importantly brilliant acting from it’s main characters, the hapless, yet caring and sweet Trevor played by Tom Varey and Pogo, the young autistic protagonist of the story played beautifully by Esme Creed-Miles.