There seemed to be much promise to Uncle David (2010), co-directed by Mike Nicholls (the man behind the 2008 TV special Living with Boy George), Gary Reich and David Hoyle, who also wrote and stars in the film along side fellow co-writer Ashley Ryder. The story (what there is of it) concerns David (Hoyle), an ageing campsite queen who lives in a caravan by the sea, and his young nephew Ashley (Ryder) who comes to stay with him. As the weekend progresses so does David and Ashley’s relationship in a way that is hardly natural for an uncle and his nephew. Sometimes you are left questioning why a film has been made?
It’s hard to determine Uncle David’s target viewer, as it will only serve to emphasise the already widely prevalent impression amongst heterosexual audiences that gay men are, quite literally, ‘from another planet’, whilst alienating the gay population by depicting them as sad, perverted and ultimately lonely individuals. In the film’s favour, its looks beautiful. Shot on the Isle of Sheppey – off England’s Kent coast – the muted colours of the shingle beaches and piercing blue skies, form a perfect backdrop against which David and Ashley’s sordid antics play out.
Film colourist Joe Stabb – who previously worked on Sahara (2005) and Basic Instinct 2 (2006) – gives the film a colour blocking feel, which is about the only vibrant thing going on. At one stage in the proceedings David turns to Ashley and says, “The sun is shining on us Ashley. It’s as if nature knows and is rewarding us with lovely bright sunshine. Nature says I’m doing the right thing. Yeah, it’s very exciting!” Well, it might be exciting for them, but it’s unlikely to do much for anyone else.