OPENS JANUARY 23, CERT 18, 108 MINS
Writer/director Penny Woolcock made her name with TV dramas, but her first film goes further out there, impressively winding up as a Sheffield answer to Fight Club with a dash of Easton Ellis amorality. It’s unsettling, violent and distinctly un-British. She’s to be encouraged.
Into the going-nowhere life of slacker Paul (Alec Newman) come two influential characters. Juliette (Sienna Guillory) could be the love of his life. Billy (Marc Warren) could be the ruin of it. Billy?charismatic, fearless, into death or glory?and his stripper wife Hole persuade Paul that random sex, drugs and bareknuckle fighting are the way forward. He’s seduced, but knows Billy’s not quite the anti-compromise hero he thinks. He doesn’t want to blow the good thing he’s got with Juliette and her kid, but it may be too late…
Though it gets foggy with its own head of steam at the climax, this is a blisteringly brave film that questions your priorities and preconceptions. The three leads are stunning, and Warren confirms he’s this era’s Malcolm McDowell. Merciless.