I Know You Know
June 8, 2010
I Know You Know is the first film directed by Justin Kerrigan since his breakthrough movie Human Traffic in 1999. Considering that Human Traffic was such a huge hit in the UK, and was critically acclaimed, it’s perhaps surprising that it took Kerrigan almost a decade before he made his second film – and even more surprising that his second film was completed 2 years ago before being released.
However, as events of I Know You Know demonstrate, Kerrigan had a few personal problems in his life following the completion of Human Traffic, namely the death of his father a year later – and this film is a tribute to his dad and the relationship that the pair had together.
Having seen all of Kerigan’s university films, such as Pubroom Paranoia and Party Politics, the style of Human Traffic came as no surprise – but I Know You Know is a departure from Kerrigan’s usual style, being shot linear and telling an almost straightforward story, with none of the cutaways or juxtaposition that his pervious works all featured. In fact, fans of Human Traffic probably won’t recognise anything in I Know You Know to suggest it was from the same writer/director.
This is very much a personal film for Kerrigan, showing the relationship of Jamie (Fuller) with his father, Charlie (Carlyle) in the mid 1980s. The pair have returned from Europe where Charlie wants to get back into business with some new jobs. It seems clear from the outset that Charlie is some sort of government spy, or possibly an assassin, and Jamie is unaware of his father’s dangerous line of work. However, Jamie becomes suspicious of his father and begins spying on him, eavesdropping and trying to figure out just what it is that his father is doing.
While attempting to do this, Jamie also has some issues at his new school – as most new kids would have when they travel around in such a manner. It’s these scenes where we get a real insight into what Kerrigan went through in his past, and where young Arron Fuller performs best.
All is not what it seems however, and Charlie’s plan to make one last big score doesn’t pan out, but not for the reasons Jamie suspects.
Without giving away the ending (because this film really is built on one major twist) it’s the relationship between Jamie and Charlie that holds the film together, and how Jamie deals with Charlie’s erratic character that offers the real sadness of the story.
On the plus side, you can see how much this meant to Kerrigan and it’s a far departure from his earlier works, showing that he can do other stuff. Arron Fuller is impressive in his debut role, and there’s a really cool Ford Capri that features in many scenes. On the negative side, Robert Carlyle’s Welsh accent sounds as though it was based in Glasgow and the film moves along at an extremely slow pace, with very little happening whilst still managing to be very confusing.
The confusing aspect is explained though, and it is intentional.
I Know You Know is no Human Traffic, but it’s nice to see that Kerrigan is working again and hopefully he’ll soon make another film that better shows off his commercial ability.