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American Women's Club of Hamburg


alt ½  

Starts October 13

Original language: English

This is not a feel-good movie: it is gritty with dyspeptic people who derive pleasure doling out shameful cruelty, and those trapped at the receiving end. Take Joseph (Peter Mullan): one night his rage climaxes with his kicking Bluey to death, although he loves that dog. When the extent of this act sinks in, Joseph’s self-loathing and resentment toward life intensifies. He hassles the neighborhood bully, and maddens his mates with impunity. But, it takes a stranger praying over him to open the rusted latch of goodness in his subconscious, and his heart.

For Hannah (Olivia Colman) it is her only alternative when some man runs in and squats, hiding behind a rack of clothes in the charity thrift shop she manages. Going home evenings is not a look-forward-to event for embattled Hannah. Before we even see husband James’s (Eddie Marsan) face, his subterfuge is revoltingly obvious. Not surprising, when Joseph returns to the shop to apologize, Hannah responds to this gentler side he reveals. And when James’ possessive jealousy reaches a crescendo, Hannah reaches out to Joseph, who with help from friends like Tommy (Ned Dennehy) and Marie (Sally Carman), form a semblance of safety.

This striking first feature film from writer / director Paddy Considine captures with excruciating accuracy, and the over-indulged requisite f--- expletive used to depict the English laborer, those bruised by society and life. Pia Di Ciaula’s editing is careful, as is Erik Wilson’s cinematography still. Contrary to what one might think, the hopelessness these individuals feel is not necessarily only of those living on the fringe of poverty. Tyrannosaur might be surprised to find out she, however unintentionally, has opened a door for redemption—for Joseph, and, finally, Hannah can let her hair grow long again. 

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