After the arrest of his brother (Benjamin Dilloway) and the death of his mother Tim's (George MacKay) responsibilities have increased dramatically. Tim must care for his younger sister (Lara Peake), girlfriend (Charlotte Spencer) and deal with bailiffs bashing at the door. Tim's only source of income is petty crime, but his life among criminals leads him down a potentially dark and dangerous route.
Duane Hopkins' Bypass is a superbly written crime drama where the mountains of debt, pressure and obligations weigh heavily down upon Tim. The relentless bad luck, and George MacKay's terrific performance, makes Tim a very sympathetic central character. The discussion of the poverty experienced by those marginalised by society adds a level of emotional depth to the story as Tim's position becomes ever more desperate further leading him down the path where crime becomes his only source of income.
The writing is superb, and the performances, both supporting and leading are terrific, however the stylistic touches don't contribute enough to warrant their overuse. Much of the more stylish scenes allow the viewer to understand the inner minds of the two siblings but the overuse of slow motion becomes rather tiresome as it adds to the film's pace which, in turn, slows down the story. The contrast between the intensity of the first chase sequence and the more melancholy slow motion sequences that are juxtaposed together does the film a disfavour.
The indulgent, over stylised filmmaking (the overuse of slow motion shots is the only grating issue) isn't enough to detract from the gripping central narrative where a top quality George MacKay performance makes Tim an empathetic central character.