The action in Pawno is based around a pawn shop, where the owner Les Underwood, played by John Brumpton, helps people out and sorts them out in equal measure. His assistant Danny, Damian Hill, who also wrote the script, is younger and softer with a romantic, dreamy disposition that contrasts with his boss's abrasiveness.
The film is driven by the twelve characters we meet, who are diverse and far from one dimensional. The multi-layered story provides a snapshot of how their lives intertwine as they work, hang out and pass each other by in a street in multicultural, down at heel, Foolscray, Melbourne. The audience are presented with a very raw and different take on life in Australia.
It has a lot going for it and the director, Paul Ireland, has managed to extract great performances from each of the large cast. There is also plenty of room for the audience and we wonder at the unlikely relationship between Les and with the attractive owner of the Chinese Takeaway. We are also left guessing as to the past experiences that trouble Danny and it's not until the end of the film that we see a completely different side to his life. I enjoyed the soundtrack – a mix of the familiar, including Tom Waits, and original music.
I managed to catch John Brumpton and Paul Ireland both before the film at the Film Festival Centre, at breakfast, and then later on, in the foyer at GFT, after the film. They were delighted to meet up with friends and fans, including the Scottish Actor Cal MacAninch. They were also surprised to see such a good turn out for the early Sunday morning viewing. But Glasgow cinema-goers know a good thing when it comes along and Pawno is a particularly endearing film.
A brilliant debut feature film from Toothless Picture.
Mark Coles Smith
Pat Byrne, February, 2017