Written and directed by Antonia Campbell-Hughes, who also stars in the film, a formidable man who cares for nothing is forced to confront his self-destructive core when a violent car crash involving a sexually charged boy who epitomises life, challenges him to face his truth. Starring: Cosmo Jarvis, Rhys Mannion and Claes Bang.
Cosmo Jarvis is quite possibly one of the most underrated actors working today, the sheer intensity he brings to his roles is constantly impressive. It Is In Us All is yet another example of that, taken in a slightly different direction. He’s given us the rough-edged, quick to violence types and most recently the buttoned-up, romantic type in Netflix’s Persuasion but here it’s rooted in trauma, denial and an extreme suppression of emotion. One of the most interesting things about this performance is that it transcends different genres, it has a classic emotional base but there’s also elements of horror, thriller and romance. It’s a complex role and Cosmo Jarvis achieves it to perfection. That’s not to say he takes every ounce of the attention, Rhys Mannion is also given quite the challenge in Evan. He’s mixed up and throwing his energy around as recklessly as he can, making him entirely unpredictable. While writer, director Antonia Campbell-Hughes plays the grieving mother with a sincerely moving style.
While Jarvis’ performance may be the heart to this film, it’s not the first element that hits you, that would be Campbell-Hughes’ direction and Piers McGrail’s cinematography. Aesthetically It Is In Us All is firing on all cylinders, right from the start and compellingly so. It’s atmospheric and creates such a grippingly dense air which holds so much possibility. It’s mysterious, it has a great depth, it makes fantastic use of natural landscapes and the inherent enigmatic qualities that come with wide open spaces in the dusk and dark. It doesn’t limit itself in the slightest, it has a base of drama but it expands so much further and at times brings in a more artistic edge to push its complexity.
The story itself then backs up all of that talent, starting in familiar territory but exploring it in a completely new way. It shows how new wounds can reopen old ones, how experiencing trauma can open up thoughts and questions about the past which have laid dormant. To a certain extent, it does leave some unanswered questions in respect to Hamish (Jarvis) and his family history but they aren’t vital to the story. Outside of that it splits into two main roads, firstly Hamish’s sudden breakdown after the car crash, bringing to the surface all the emotion he’s tried to suppress in the goal of being a success and proving to his father that he’s worthy. The second, Evan’s attempt to deal with the death of his best friend and the unexpected comfort and support that he finds in Hamish. They’re explored in an unusual manner, it can be chaotic or even manic but it does so with a great intensity.
It Is In Us All is led by another impressive powerhouse performance from Cosmo Jarvis. It’s a superb feature directorial debut from Antonia Campbell-Hughes, it’s absolutely atmospheric, compelling and unique. The overall visual and framing are clean, sharp and do sincere justice to the complexity of the story and performances. Even more of a feat given that Campbell-Hughes throws a huge amount of emotion into her performance also. Jarvis is well supported by Rhys Mannion who, at the very beginning of his career, clearly has a lot to offer. There’s even, as in many a great film, a surprising amount of dancing.