It’s the very last day of the 2023 Sci-Fi-London (boo) film festival but we’ve had an absolute blast (read our reviews of all the films that have taken place here) and not only that, but the festival is finishing with a bang with the UK Première of Gabriel Foster Prior’s The Bystanders, which stars Seann Walsh, Scott Haran, Georgia Mabel Clarke (yay!).
Read our review here…
The Bystanders (2022) Closing Night UK Première, 6 June, Rich Mix Cinema
Peter Weir (Scott Haran) – a former child genius at chess who is now an inconspicuous office drone – is recruited precisely for his anonymity to become a Bystander, a kind of empowered guardian angel tasked with watching over, and invisibly helping, an individual Subject. Peter is trained by jaded Bystander Frank (Seann Walsh), who out of boredom proposes that they swap Subjects, so that Frank now has ‘middle-class girl from Kent’ Sarah (Georgia Mabel Clarke), and Peter has feckless loser Luke (Andi Jashy), whom Peter hopes to transform into a winner so that Peter himself can win the award for Bystander of the Year, and make up for losing a chess contest decades earlier. Hilarious rivalry ensues, as misanthropic Frank, who can only see the world through ‘Frank-tinted glasses’, sets about, purely for the lulz, undermining Luke’s – and Peter’s – newfound success.
Gabriel Foster Prior’s feature debut reconfigures Wings Of Desire or The Adjustment Bureau as a London comedy of meddling manners, full of boozy nights, poltergeist pranking, workspace satire, and personal development for both the barely living and their ghostly counterparts. It is sweet, funny and schlumpily humane – and finally explains why we are always losing our coat and wallet, or finding the traffic lights against us, when we most need things to runs smoothly.
Sci-Fi-London will be taking place between 31 May and 6 June. It is out in UK cinemas on 3 November