Julien Neaves – Editor
On March 28 the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (ttff) gave Caribbean viewers an isolation gift with #WatchaMovieOnUs: Online Screening Series – 14 films shown over 14 days, each for 24 hours, on its website. Now as you would see in the RMR About section, one of the goals of this site is to promote Caribbean film, or “Cariwood” as I call it.
So ttff has inspired me to do my own review series, 7 Days of Cariwood, which has been a mix of the Online Screening Series films and other Caribbean films – the latter obtains with this article. For the seventh and final part of this series (yes I know, all good things must come to an end) I will be reviewing 2007 Barbadian sports drama Hit For Six. And we will be keeping it spoiler free. Let’s bowl the first ball!
Hit for Six, written and directed by Alison Saunders (side note: Barbados bucks the trend where there are more female than male filmmakers), centres on Alex Nelson (Andrew Pilgrim), a sidelined West Indies cricketer fighting to return to the team and take part in a major competition, the Global One Day Series. Off the field he has to deal with a match-fixing scandal and a relentless crook named Paul Mace (David Neilands), his estranged father and famous cricketer Colin Thompson (Rudolph Walker), a persistent journalist (Varia Williams), and his clingy singer girlfriend Astrid (the lovely Trinidad-born actress and media personality Jeanille Bonterre).
The film also features a host of cricket-related cameos including modern Barbadian cricketers like Tino Best and Corey Edwards, veteran Barbadian cricketers like Sir Everton Weekes and Sir Wes Hall, and cricket commentators Tony Cozier and Fazeer Mohammed (you can tell how old the film is as Fazeer’s hair is completely black). These inclusions do add an authenticity to the proceedings and would be a kick for cricket enthusiasts. Barbadian soca queen Alison Hinds also cameos as well.
Hit For Six is not only packed with cameos but the plot has a little something for everyone: suspense, a love triangle, family drama and, of course, cricket. I’m a casual sports fan myself but I found the cricket scenes only serviceable. I think with sharper editing and a more focused shot choice they would have been more entertaining. Sadly for a cricket movie the actual cricket kind of slows things down while you wait for the next chapter in Nelson’s crazy life.
As Nelson Pilgrim anchors the film well as the likeable but troubled cricketer. His best scenes are with Neilands as the vicious Mace, and Walker who convincingly plays a father seeking redemption and forgiveness. Alison Sealy-Smith, a Barbados-born Canadian actress who appeared in films such as Dark Water and Loser, shines as Nelson’s caring and loving mother Ianthe.
Bonterre picked up a Best Actress Award at the 2007 Bridgetown Film Festival though I found her performance just okay. There is a scene, though, where she describes her lady parts as “the best in the Caribbean” which made me burst out laughing. I mean, did she do a poll?
Also at the Bridgetown Film Festival Hit For Six picked up Best Barbadian Film, and Best Cinematographer (Richard Lannaman). And I will commend the film for its unique premise and mostly entertaining story. So while Hit For Six does not knock it out of the grounds, it does pick up a boundary. Cricket metaphors – I got ‘em.
Score: 6 out of 10
Julien Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. Also loves promoting Caribbean film, creating board games and is an aspiring author. Says things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Can also be found talking about TV and movie stuff on Facebook at Movieville.