Film Review: EGOMANIAC (2016)

EGOMANIAC **** UK 2016 Dir: Kate Shenton. 72 mins

Shot in 10 days for £5000, writer-director Kate Shenton’s second feature is a marvellously witty insight into her own experiences of rampant sexism in the film industry. Nic Lamont is terrific as a young filmmaker pitching her pet “zombie horror romantic comedy” project to producers who typically promise her £1million if she incorporates either a talking dog or 3-D.
Her struggles with financing and casting disappointments (a “young, gorgeous” lead actor turns out to be call centre worker Laurence R Harvey) are juxtaposed with fantasies of what her evolving, unfilmed script might look like (“She has a Samurai sword and always perfectly applied lip gloss”). Lamont’s three-dimensional performance provides an empathetic evocation of the hurdles facing an ambitious, creative woman in an industry populated by sweaty, patronising male moneymen. It confidently oscillates between gross out nightmare sequences (a RE-ANIMATOR-inspired bout of zombie cunnilingus) amusing character bits – with Loren O’Brien very funny as an overbearing drama school graduate with elaborate warm-up exercises – and disarmingly poignant scenes of Lamont phoning her parents to borrow money as rent day looms. The subject matter couldn’t be timelier as, despite working behind the scenes, Lamont still becomes a commodity via makeovers and photoshoots, takes “one for the team” to get funding (i.e. ensuring her bra is on show and her arse is almost visible) and joylessly fucks a seedy producer. Murder, blackly comic mayhem and a climactic homage to MANIAC all follow, and the film never loses focus in its balance of observational humour and condemnation of prehistoric attitudes.

Review by Steven West

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