Up There film review: Owen from Torchwood is dead again.

Burn Gorman and Aymen Hamdouchi in Up There.

Burn was not surprised to see John Barrowman flashing outside the window.

Release Date: 16 November 2012
15 | 79 minutes
Distributor: Wilder Films
Director: Zam Salim
Cast: Burn Gorman, Kate O’Flynn, Aymen Hamdouchi, Chris Waitt

Cinema’s definitive afterlife is A Matter Of Life And Death‘s, all giant amphitheatres and celestial escalators. Up There, a British curio of special interest to Torchwood fans, is at the other extreme. Ghosts hang round anonymous offices, dingy seafronts and seedy car parks, depressed and bored senseless. There’s no halos or angelic wings in sight, no special effects at all.

Martin, played by Burn Gorman – Torchwood’s Owen – is a typical ghost, full of frustrations. His widow’s seeing his best friend; he can’t influence the living; and he’s stuck in a round of counselling, therapy and assessment carried out by senior ghosts. Martin’s responsibility is welcoming the newly dead, but it goes tits-up when a hysterical youth (Farren Morgan) does a runner. Martin hunts for him in a dour Welsh seaside town, coping with arrested-adolescent hanger-on Rash (Aymen Hamdouchi) and befriending local dead lass Liz (Kate O’Flynn).

It’s an honest film, with characters who are believable types. It’s also a very acquired taste, full of miserable little people, teeth-grindingly annoying characters and relentless coarseness. The swearing rivals Goodfellas, while the ghosts get their kicks by ogling the living, culminating in a charming dogging scene…

Gorman, of course, is used to unhappy afterlifes – you’re inevitably reminded of his standout Torchwood episode, “A Day In The Death” – and he’s morosely sympathetic as you’d expect. Get through the film and you’ll have begun to care about the people around him too.

Andrew Osmond twitter.com/andyozma

Up There originated as a ten-minute short. You can watch it below.

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