SEAT AT THE BACK - SCRIBBLES! ~ Films on the Seat at the Back playlist right now: KIDS IN LOVE; JUNE; CURVE; WILD, BARELY LETHAL; GODDESS OF LOVE; THE VATICAN TAPES .. What a night in!

Monday, 1 June 2015

"Revenge . . . is Bitter & Sweet!" Maisie Williams soars as a schoolgirl outsider with deliciously dark powers in the stunning video for Seafret's hit single 'Oceans' . .

"You know I'd rather drown,
Than to go on without you,
But you're pulling me down."
Soulful, folky, UK indie band Seafret's energising and powerful video for their release of heart-breaking recent single Oceans stars the deliriously quirky and charismatic young actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones. For more on Maisie, you could also read our review of the fabulous 2012 BBC TV adaption of James Herbert's The Secret of Crickley Hall (made shortly before the author's untimely death) in which Williams also appears and makes some early ripples in the fabric of TV. With two new episodes of Doctor Who up next ('The Girl Who Died/ The Woman Who Lived' in October 2015) with Maisie as both a feisty Viking villager as well a hip young 'highwaygirl', there's even more cult telly to come!


The Oceans music video starts off with a teenage girl (Maisie Williams) returning from school and calling out for her mum as she shuts the front door - only to find the house empty; a note left on the kitchen table. As she removes her sweatshirt in the bedroom upstairs, she notices the word 'loser' scrawled across the back. In the bedroom cupboard, there is an old box containing a superhero cape and a woollen mask, that she pulls down over her head. With the cape also wrapped around her, the girl heads out for a lonely stroll across the local estate and recreation ground (a sorrowful scene shows her buying a large bottle of fizzy drink from a corner shop and gulping it back on her own in a quiet place to sit and watch the world go by - with the odd hesitant glance and guilt-shrouded gaze to show she's alive as the hours tick by).

Walking back home across a lonely stretch of parkland, our young superhero encounters a local gang who mock her costume. Earlier, back in the bedroom, we had seen how the girl's hand had glowed with a bright, hazy pink power and now - upon being punched in the face by one especially cruel member of the gang - she gets up from the ground with a bleeding nose, and raises her hand. The pink crackling energy that seeps out from outstretched fingers knocks the chuckling gang off their feet with shock, and they scurry quickly away through the trees.
The girl runs home, straight into the arms of her mother. As she turns her head - doleful eyes glow brightly with continuing threat and possible menace. Or is that glow, one of comfort . . ?

With a nod to Stephen King's horror novel Carrie (and the film adaptations stating Sissy Spacek, Angela Bettis and Chloe Grace Moretz) there's a sorrowful vibe throughout Oceans and Maisie Williams carries the isolation and vengeance off with verve - her character seething with angry doe-eyed, if reluctant, revenge.

The costume she wears is immediately iconic and striking - bright colours permeate the mask as much as they do the blood red kitchen desktop and yellowing curtains at home. Outside, the real world has never felt more dangerous, and that scene where Williams almost forces herself to sip from a large fizzy drink bottle; as if to symbolise normality - is a striking glimpse of total rejection and loneliness.

Equally striking is the moment the wounded girl falls out of frame after being punched. A lengthy pause of static screen space follows - then she floats up like a vengeful vampire into the frame; blood trickling from her nose and eyes alight with fury and payback. A show of supernatural strength follows . .

A final collapse into the arms of her mother later (who may or may not know the power her daughter possesses, but certainly looks afraid when she sees that the box containing the childhood costume has been opened) is a fresh gasp of relief before a final, almost comforting  shot of strength (those glowing eyes again!) makes clear that this girl is safe - even if nobody else is around her. And certainly not if they taunt her some more.  But the show of power here isn't especially rampant or even dangerous (yet) - it's more of a deterrent (with the safety catch released). Also, of course, all this superpower stuff could all be in the girl's mind, and symbolic (but that's too easy and obvious, so I hope not).


'Seafret' have a gorgeous, acoustic, folky vibe of a song here in Oceans - full of soaring vocals and pleading melodies that really zones in on the two boys fronting the band (Jack and Harry from Bridlington in East Yorkshire) as real emerging talents. They met in a pub while still in their teens and linked up that night with mutual ambition - this led to the eventual formation of Seafret. Both the boys have dads that play in their own respective bands and it was inevitable that a brilliant career was born that night at the open mic of the Ship Inn pub in Sewerby . . (maybe not the most glamorous of starts to a brilliant career, but still - what's not to love about this story anyway?).

The band's latest single release - 'Atlantis', is also setting the duo up for even more chart success with a video that sees a young boy trekking across a rural Irish landscape accompanied by a mythical white beast; it's staggeringly beautiful - influenced, perhaps, by Where The Wild Things Are as much as Oceans is, perhaps, infused with Carrie.

"It feels like there's oceans,
Between you and me . ."

The video for Oceans (directed by young Manchester film-maker Jonathan Entwistle for Stink media) perfectly matches the dark lyrics, acoustic edge and melancholy vocals of the track itself. These outsider lyrics are perfectly funnelled  into the storyline of a troubled, bullied teenage girl carrying on without the support she needs at home, and her nifty way of fighting back - without any adult's help. The video has enough impact to exist as a possible prelude to a movie or TV series reflecting the girl in the video's mysterious life and seems to have inspired graphic novel-style fan fiction already.


If there is any actress in film and TV today that could play this kind of off-the-park-swings-and-away-with-the-evil-fairies role with total conviction; capture a young lifetime of emotion and repression in one sunset-lit act of deliverance - it's Maisie Williams! Here, the young actress proves once again that she's the one to be watching out for in already highly anticipated film roles ahead. This includes starring, next year, in probably the best video game ever created (well, I reckon!) - The Last Of Us, as well as currently being seen in excellent English creepy girls' school oddity The Falling.

But her role as a bullied girl with blossoming superhero/ super-vengeful powers in the promo video for Seafret's brilliant Oceans - is a triumph of subtlety and gentle, powerful, pretty persuasion. And a mantra for the oppressed and ridiculed - everywhere.

Words: Mark Gordon Palmer
Lyrics from Oceans by Seafret


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