“Palace of Fun”
Brother, Sister and Drifter
Three young people on the cusp of adulthood navigate the complexities of love, sex and secrecy with disastrous consequences. Lily (Phoebe Naughton) and Finn (Andrew Mullen) meet one drunken night in a club and begin a perfect summer romance until they meet Lily’s younger brother Jamie (George Stocks). This is an intimate look into the strains of familial bonds and awakened romance, as we see the extremes that young people go to in order to keep up appearances and maintain their identity.
Jamie boasts the self-superiority and arrogance that comes with privilege. As secrets are revealed, you can’t help but become compliant in the debauched actions of these three dubious characters, and invested in their goodness. We are taken into a world of questionable morals and strong intentions.
Lilly invited Finn to spend a week at her parents’ opulent Sussex house until they return from their trip to Italy. However, the situation changes when Jamie discovers a revealing secret about Finn, Jamie decides to use it to play a dangerous and sinister game instead of sharing it with his sister. During a search for Finn on Facebook, Jamie learns that Finn stole some kid’s bag and bribes him into increasingly ‘uncomfortable’ acts that border on rape if he wants to get his bag back.
All three central characters have ranging levels of interest— it’s hard to ignore the intrigue Jamie’s character offers from the offset and George Stock plays him with creativity and talent. When Lily and Finn’s relationship begins become mundane, Jamie steps in and takes over to a degree. This is a film with intrigue, betrayal, mystery and secrets.
Director Eadword Stocks, along with co-writer, brother and star George Stocks have created a poetic, quiet and melancholy film that powerfully portrays how normal life often exists alongside intrigues and secrets such as these. “Palace of Fun” begins to lose steam as it moves toward the end and while that hurts it, it is still fascinating to watch.