When you hear the words ‘Road movie’ you probably envision Easy Rider or On the Road, certainly nothing based in the UK. So when I heard about Burning Men, a road movie set in the UK, about two friends traveling across the British Isles with a cursed music record, I was immediately intrigued. The film follows young musicians Ray (Ed Hayter) and Don (Aki Omoshaybi) who are evicted from their South London squat. In order to make ends meet, they decide to sell their precious vinyl collection and fly to Memphis in search of their destiny. Frustrated by the shortfall in funds, they steal an ‘uber-rare’ Black Metal record at a Camden record fair and head out-of-town to sell it. As they drive north in their beaten-up Volvo Amazon, picking up hitchhiker Susie (Elinor Crawley) en route, they find themselves stalked by dark forces apparently unleashed by the ‘devil disc’ they have stolen.
Burning Men will be released on the 1st March and is directed Jeremy Wooding. You may be aware of Wooding’s previous films, Bollywood Queen (a musical-romance starring James McAvoy, which was selected for the prestigious Sundance Film Festival and sold globally) and Blood Moon (a horror western involving werewolves and starring Vikings’ George Blagden). Wooding has also had a long career in television, being the director on the first series of hit sit-com Peep Show. In the same vein as Peep Show, Burning Men is shot almost entirely in POV, which means that the characters look straight at the audience, breaking the fourth wall. This is no mere gimmick, as it creates a sense of intimacy and immediacy which perfectly reflects the offbeat nature of the film.
Wooding has co-written the script with Neil Spencer, who is a writer, music journalist (The Observer, Uncut, Mojo) and former New Musical Express editor. Burning Men, is their second feature film as a writing team, having written Bollywood Queen as well as several award-winning short films. The film’s producer Michael Vine, co-founded successful TV production company Objective Productions in 1996, producing an eclectic mix of programmes for UK and US TV including Peep Show, Fresh Meat and all Derren Brown’s TV product. Michael owns talent agency Michael Vine Associates and is Derren Brown’s personal manager.
The film’s score has been composed by Justin Adams – who has worked with Robert Plant for decades – completing his first film score, and Guy Pratt (bassist with Dave Gilmour, Pink Floyd, and Roxy Music to name a few). And, the film features a cast of young emerging talent such as Edward Hayter (To Dream, TV series Will), Aki Omoshaybi (The Last Jedi, The Riot Club, Kids In Love, A Moving Image) and Elinor Crawley (Submarine, Bridgend,TV series Vikings). Personally speaking, I am keen to seek Burning Men out as it looks like an offbeat, dark comedy that I will quite enjoy.