Ray (Craig) has just been released from a mental hospital into the care of his restaurateur brother Pete (Morrissey). There are some serious issues in their past, and Ray's offbeat behaviour pushes Pete to the limits, but they rely on each other. Then Ray meets Laura (Macdonald), stops taking his medication and starts behaving even more erratically than usual.
The story nicely focuses not on mental illness as an issue, but on the interrelationships between the characters. And the cast is superb, anchored solidly by Craig's surprisingly likeable performance and an authenticity in his interaction with Morrissey and Macdonald. All three characters worm their way under our skin, even though (or maybe because) they are deeply flawed and looking for love and stability in their lives. Cellan Jones opens up the play visually with repeating images, a trip to the seaside and a nice eye for the gritty realities of West London. Yet thematically, the story remains firmly on the stage, with only three main characters (and two supporting ones--McDonald as Laura's ex and Graham as Pete's waitress). And virtually everything centres on Ray's illness, including events from the brothers' past that come back to haunt them. This leaves it all feeling a bit ingrown and overly Serious (with a capital S). Not a bad thing ... but not fleshed out quite enough to be a truly important film.
[15--adult themes, language, some violence and nudity] 17.Aug.00
UK release 25.Aug.00
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