My Old School
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The story of Brandon Lee is well known to the Glasgow populace. For the rest of us, Jono McLeod’s film offers up a bizarre and compelling tale.
In 1993, Brandon Lee, a rather mature-looking 16-year-old enrolled at Bearsden Academy, a secondary school in an affluent part of Glasgow. Not only did he look older, he drove a car and drank wine. And yet everyone seemed drawn in by the newcomer. Stranger still, he had the same name as the martial arts film star who just six months earlier was killed in an on-set accident. So, who really was Brandon Lee and how did he manage to fool so many people?
McLeod originally intended to shoot his entire film in live action. But with the onset of Covid restrictions, the film’s flashback sequences, detailing Brandon’s activities at the school in the 1990s, were animated. The effect enhances the strangeness of the story that unfolds. In the present, Alan Cumming plays Lee. More to the point, he is the physical embodiment of Lee, whose actual voice we hear and whose words are mimed by the actor, whose own star status adds further to the story – one that relies not on myth or hearsay, but from those present at the time.