‘Coming Up’ Series 7 Episode 3 Review – Camouflage

“Never look back, because you’ll get a pain in the neck.”

Channel 4’s annual talent scheme Coming Up returned to our screens on the 2nd of July.

Initiated in 2006 Channel 4’s Coming Up offers a unique opportunity for new writing and emerging film-makers, and is the only such scheme available in the UK. Having their films showcased and guaranteed for network broadcast IWC and Channel 4 are fulfilling their brief of inspiring fresh innovation and experimentation for writing and film making. This year’s offering is a mixed bag of super talented people and great actors. Russell Tovey (Being Human), Thomas Turgoose (This Is England) and MyAnna Buring (The Descent) are among the artists gracing these amazing series of short films.

The third of the seven films; Camouflage tells the story of cosmetic make-up artist Annette Lara Pulver (Sherlock) who teaches people to cover up their trauma scars. Riza Ashley Walters (Hustle) visits her practice wanting to cover up a facial scar which is a reminder of his turbulent teenage years during the civil war in Sierra Leone. Riza is suddenly pursued by a mysterious and menacing black cab driver Mark Monero (EastEnders) and we begin to wonder why? Annette finds herself discovering a little more than she bargained for when she becomes romantically with Riza and covers up more than a just his scars.

The film was written by Lydia Adetunji, whose play COMPLIANCE won the 2011 Catherine Johnson award for Best Play. She is now developing an original screenplay with Cowboy Productions and BBC Films and rightly so.Camouflage was directed by Robert Mckillop (Strays) a National Film and Television School graduate and it is clear Robert Mckillop will be going places very soon. Camouflage is an amazing piece of film drama, wonderfully written, directed, produced and acted.

Lara Pulver clearly steals the show with her portrayal of the fragile yet strong Annette; a far cry from the ice cold and cunning dominatrix Irene Adler in Sherlock. She demonstrates her versatility and can certainly stir emotion with her performance. Ashley Walters blends in perfectly as Riza, his moodiness lets the viewer second guess who he is and what is his motive.

The film focuses plenty on humanity, or the lack thereof and how the past is sometimes too horrific to bury. The film begs the question, “What would you do?” And explores an age old quandary; can we really forgive and forget? Or must tough justice be served and brutally at that?

I urge you to watch.

If you’ve missed Camouflage or the first two Coming Up films of you can catch up at Channel 4oD.