This film doesn’t just sit in one timeframe, and chops and changes between the two, so of the couple, we begin with an older Ray (Patrick Romer), who’s hard-drinking and chain-smoking his way through his last years. Meanwhile, the middle-aged Ray (Justin Salinger), in the ’70s, exhibits what makes you really think about the ’70s, in that his fingernails are dirty like he hasn’t cleaned them in about a month. However, he has clean fingernails in the present day.
Accompanied by his better half, Liz (Ella Smith), it’s also a disgustingly gross house, missing wallpaper but having burn marks in its place.
As a plot, of sorts, it’s a series of random storylines. There’s consternation when Ray’s brother, Lol (Tony Way – Edge of Tomorrow, Sightseers), seemingly drinks all the booze in the house. As such, Liz is handy with a high-heeled shoe to the head…
However, it’s not just about Ray and Liz, but everything that goes on in their flat, including their son, Jason, nicking money from Liz’s purse, as well as throwing various items out the high-storey window,
Overall, the first half is interesting, but after that, it rather goes off the boil, as it starts to drag due to rather a lack of direction in the storylines.
Ray and Liz is interesting, however, in its concept, as I’ve seen my parents as they raised my sister and I, then later split up, but still cared for each other’s well being. Now, only my mum remains, but I knew both my grandparents on my mum’s side, and both of them passed away over time, so with them, I could see both sides of a partnership coming to a close. That’s the depressing side of life, but as family life happens in this film, Ray and Liz isn’t exactly meant to be a laugh riot.
And even though I found the film hit and miss, as it was shot in 4:3 in 16mm, it rather makes me wish I could see it on the Vue Printworks IMAX screen in Manchester, as that opens up to the 70mm IMAX ratio of 1.44:1, so with very slight sidebars, you’d see the entire picture in your face, as it’s a floor-to-ceiling screen!
When it comes to the extras, there aren’t a huge amount, but aside from a Theatrical Trailer (2:05), and an Audio descriptive track, there’s also a short film, Zoo (32:09), from writer/director Richard Billingham, which is series of mostly-silent documentary scenes, which was part of a video and photography project filmed at zoos from 2004-2006.
The menu mixes clips from the film with a segment of incidental music, not that there’s much music in this film, so really it’s just ambience. Subtitles are in English only, and there are a bog-standard 12 chapters.
Running time: 108 minutes
Distributor: New Wave Films
Released: July 22nd 2019
Sound: DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio
Widescreen: 1.37:1 (16mm)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Richard Billingham
Producer: Jacqui Davies
Screenplay: Richard Billingham
Ray: Justin Salinger
Liz: Ella Smith
Older Ray: Patrick Romer
Lol: Tony Way
Sid: Richard Ashton
Zeinab: Michelle Bonnard
Cahill: Sam Dodd
Kevin: James Eeles
Will: Sam Gittins
Dean: James Hinton
Headmaster – Mr Hale: Andrew Jefferson-Tierney
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.