Apparently Everton’s Bill Kenwright stepped in with £200k to save this production and it’s unsurprising, as he’s obviously a man of good taste, that the film is a wonderful melodrama. Tim Roth, Cillian Murphy and Rory Kinnear all grace this film with typically convincing performances but key to the film’s success is debutant, Eloise Laurence. She plays Skunk who’s about to start secondary school and lives on a particularly stressed crescent. Most of the aggro is provided by Kinnear’s Bob, who doesn’t so much as over-protect his three daughters, as bulldozers destruction if there’s any hint that his eldest has had sex.
Such is the stuff of melodrama, especially when you add absent mothers to the mix; grief at school; mental health issues; diabetes. It might have resulted in an overwrought, even by melodrama’s standards, concoction but – the ‘near death experience’ aside – theatrical director Rufus Norris keeps the histrionics on the right side of credible. I liked that, even the ‘villains’, are shown to have reasons for their behaviour. The characters are all more than two-dimensional.
I haven’t seen Roth since 2005’s Dark Water (US) and it’s good to be reminded what a spellbinding screen presence he has. It’s also good to see Murphy stepping out of Hollywood to support the British film industry; I’m sure they both took deferrals on this low budget film.
This is one of the best ‘coming of age’ films I’ve seen for sometime, based on Daniel Clay’s novel, and I strongly recommend it.