A boring and bored man, unhappily married and hating his job, unexpectedly encounters a beautiful woman. He’s captivated, and she leads him on exciting adventure.
It’s a familiar male fantasy, which has formed the basis for some memorable films – Edward G Robinson and Joan Bennett in Fritz Lang’s Scarlet Street (1945) and Gene Wilder (hard to think of him as boring, I know!) and Kelly LeBrock in Wilder’s The Woman in Red (1984) immediately came to my mind, but I’m sure there are better examples.
We follow Daniel (Edward Tarling) as he walks the busy London streets to work, fending off phone calls from a stressed-out wife and an increasingly angry boss, who’s expecting our hero to be there promptly for an important meeting.
Out of nowhere comes our Woman in Red (though here the red is a branded jacket, rather than a billowing dress), Isla (Hayley Powell), literally crashes into Daniel’s life – running into him, and sending his phone (the object that binds him to his unhappy domestic and work life) crashing to the pavement.
She apologises and dashes off. But he sees she has dropped a wad of cash, and he decides to return it. He follows her all day – his obsession with her has instantly become far more important than his job or his homelife.
When they meet again, we discover she’s a pickpocket and he’s an accountant (“it pays the bills”), but wanted to be an architect (“design beautiful buildings”). “I made a few wrong decisions,” he admits. “So,” Isla suggests, “make a few right ones”.
To her, life is simple, and things happen for a reason. She’s a thief, yes, but she argues: “Everyone takes. I do it my way, you do it yours.”
What the future holds for this unlikely couple – separately or together – we are left to imagine. The possibilities seem endless, and far more appealling than the life Daniel’s wrong decisions had lined up for him.
From a script by Jonathan Skinner, who also voices Daniel’s increasingly angry boss on the end of the phone, One Another takes us around some of London’s most familiar landmarks (credit here to director of photography Onysha Collins) in pre-Covid times (2018) in a clever, engaging and well crafted new take on a familiar premise.