Twelve years before he made his debut good and proper with The Hunger, Tony Scott directed this little-seen British art film. Beyond a knack for composing striking frames, you’d be hard pushed to guess the two movies came from the same man. Extremely minimal in it’s content, Loving Memory would be better suited as a twenty minute short film because even at fifty one minutes it feels like a bit of a slog. Still, the central premise – which I won’t spoil here – is unsettling enough to gauge interest and Scott’s treatment of the British countryside makes for some gorgeous black and white scenery. Very gothic and cynical in it’s themes and observations, Loving Memory does establish Scott’s penchant for dissecting characters immersed in violence and decay but he would develop a taste for far more exuberant and expressionistic visuals as the years went on.
Loving Memory also makes for a fun double-bill with Ridley Scott’s own pre-Hollywood calling card Boy and Bicycle which stars Tony. Both films feel like they exist in the same universe, not only due to their setting and photography but also the reliance on droning voice-over. Watching both films back to back captures the Scott brothers when they were the most in sync stylistically. It’s quite remarkable the trajectory their individual careers took from here. They both went on to make bigger, better things but for better or worse neither of them quite did this again.
A cool curiosity that might be more fun to read about and discuss than actually watch, but as a first go-around for one of the most accomplished action directors in film history, it sure is fascinating.