Written and directed by Billy Morton, Bertie Pinkerton-Smythe (Wilf Anderton), alias “Whiskey Stone”, struggles to make it as a grime rapper in the rural countryside, despite his upper-class roots. Also starring: Felix Morton, Josh Morton, Phil Morton and Sarah Pyper.
The sign of a good mockumentary is having a decent set up, something that looks and feels as though it could legitimately lead into a documentary and this film has that, anyone going into this with no prior knowledge, would think it was a doc about Grime. It then smoothly segues into the focus of the film, Whiskey Stone (Anderton) and it certainly doesn’t take long to get an impression of him, he’s a fantastic parody of a lot of young people out there today. A new generation full of unearned confidence and see-through swagger that falters with the littlest criticism and that’s exactly who Whiskey Stone is. He’s the type of character you’d expect to see in something like Johnny English, Four Lions or (for a reference a little dated) Sacha Baron Cohen’s Ali G, especially the latter with this being a case of a very, very white guy, wishing he was black and using some casual cultural appropriation.
Given that Whiskey Stone is not the smartest of characters, it’s surprising that the humour itself is actually quite clever, it’s well timed and hits that classic comedy of misunderstanding with great pacing. There’s also the nice addition of the documentarian, voiced by writer and director Morton, providing a sympathetic character, he repeatedly tries to remain serious and ask genuine questions but you can feel that want to roll his eyes or laugh in the tone of his voice. There’s also Hugo (Felix Morton), he’s the ideal side-kick to Whiskey, naïve enough to not realise that he’s an idiot and so respects him enough to trail around after him and try to imitate his style. The only real miss with the cast is the dad, but granted it seems to be assumedly played by the director’s real life father so it makes sense why the performance is awkwardly over the top.
The only real issue with the film is that as it gets into its final stages, the change of Whiskey back to Bertie is undeniably apt but the way it’s done feels anticlimactic and slightly lingering, it doesn’t hit the same strong note of comedy as the rest of the film. It’s a real shame that it ends with a slow, unsatisfying moment rather than a bang, it makes sense and the concept itself is funny, it sadly simply doesn’t work as well as the rest of the film.
Straight Outta Compton, Berkshire is a great idea of following a young guy whose momentary obsession is with a world that he couldn’t possibly understand, it’s apt for the world of constantly moving from one fad to the next that is ridiculously existent today and most importantly it’s funny. Anderton does a brilliant job with the lead and his performance feels like the perfect fit for some classic British humour.