engrossing British social-realist
drama, the feature-film debut from acclaimed theatre and opera director
Rupert Norris. It chronicles the interweaving lives of three families
who share a north London suburban street and the bright and innocent
youngster, Skunk (an excellent debut performance from natural screen
presence Eloise Laurence), caught up in the emotional turmoil.
conflict is sparked by Skunk's problem neighbors, the Oswalds. Her
solicitor father, Archie (Tim Roth), teacher, Mike (Cillian Murphy), and
mentally challenged neighbor, Rick (Robert Emms), are drawn into the
web of affairs following the allegations made against Mike and Rick by Mr Oswald's (Rory Kinnear) daughter, and the violent outbursts he unleashes as a repercussion.
This is quite an intense story. There are some affecting
sequences, especially between Skunk and her father, but also some amusing and heartwarming coming-of-age
moments. The well-written exchanges between Skunk and a young man
from the neighborhood are amongst the film's brightest.
Ultimately, the story takes on a bit too much;
feeling contrived and leaving some of the developments unconvincing and
hard to accept, but this thoughtfully constructed drama deals with some
relevant issues - broken family and community ties, physical empowerment and bullying, and health
privilege and entitlement - quite competently, and boasts some strong
performances from both newcomers and veterans alike.
My Rating: ★★★
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