Duane Hopkins’s Better Things is a film which shows the boring bits of life, when people just sit around and do nothing.
It’s bleak portrayal of life in the Cotswolds beginning with 22-year-old Tess Baker dying after injecting heroin.
Nothing else really happens for the next half hour, except people sitting around taking drugs, looking miserable and bored. But that is probably the point Hopkins is trying to make and it is nevertheless, a very sensual 90-minute-film.
The choice of music also adds to the atmospheric feel of the film and highlights both the differences and similarities between the different generations of characters.
Cinematographer Lol Crawley’s focus on sound and touch helps capture the dirty and base world of drug abuse and at the same time, gives the audience the feeling of watching the film from inside the character’s heads.
Narrator Gail Wilson, played by Rachel McIntyre, is an agoraphobic teen, who is finally forced to face her fear and go outside as the last wish of her dying Nan.
While her narration is sparse, it helps the audience to understand what drives Hopkins’s characters.
Her narration captures the essence of the film, which seems to be that most of the characters have little ambition for their lives, except to fall in love, which they think would solve all their problems.
However, few of them realise that if they don’t love themselves, they cannot love another person.
Better Things is on at Chapter Arts, in Cardiff until March 5.