dir Terry Winsor
scr Jeff Pope, Terry Winsor
with Charlie Creed-Miles, Sean Bean, Alex Kingston, Tom Wilkinson, Larry Lamb, Michael McKell, George Jackson, Holly Davidson, Amelia Lowdell, Terence Rigby, Sally Hurst, Gary Love
Review by Rich Cline
Our narrator is Billy (Creed-Miles), a young cabbie who gets a job driving for the recently released ex-con Jason (Bean), back home and ready to take up where he left off five years earlier. And Jason has more than a chip on his shoulder; he's sure his tough-minded wife (Kingston) has been unfaithful and he's furious that his partners in crime (Lamb and McKell) have grown rich while he was locked away. Billy's driving skills make him indispensable, and finding his niche draws him in deeper. But the increasing violence starts to get to him, especially when a local smuggler (Wilkinson) with a grudge gets involved. Power struggles ensue on every level imaginable--crime, business, money, sex, friendships.
The story's twists and turns are brilliantly handled by the filmmaker without gimmicks or red herrings--these people all think they're in control of their destiny ... and of everyone around them. Creed-Miles is excellent as the innocent trying to look tough and worldly wise--a perfect character to identify with as we descend into this dark, grim, violent world. Bean, Wilkinson and especially Kingston also deliver marvellously layered performances that let us briefly glimpse the insecurities beneath the bravado. The script and direction are also solid, with clever touches both thematically and visually. There's not much in the way of comic relief here--the film is relentlessly dark, building horrifically in an edgy, sharp way that keeps you both watching and ready to cover your eyes when it gets grisly. And ultimately, when the film declares the true winner, it also brilliantly shows what a hollow victory it is.
[18--strong adult themes and situations, violence, nudity, language] 21.Jun.00
UK release 14.Jul.00
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