The Review: The ideal model for an A list acting career these days seems to be able to have a blend of big box-office blockbusters and smaller, more intense dramas. Over the past couple of years Gemma Arterton has engineered herself into a place to be appearing on that list, with an increasing succession bigger parts in higher profile films. While she undoubtedly has talent, it’s only really her TV roles that have stretched her and nothing so far on the big screen has really answered the question – can she act?
Based on this evidence, the answer is a resounding yes. Completely throwing herself into the role, she’s physically and emotionally exposed, and is allowed to show real and raw emotion, vulnerability but also strength. There are only two other roles in the entire movie, but thankfully Eddie Marsan and Martin Compston also get plenty to get their teeth into.
The publicity for the movie deliberately hasn’t given much away, and this serves the movie well, as the narrative is driven along by a continuing series of reveals about the nature of the situation and the characters themselves, which is of course more complex than first appears. Between these reveals, many of the situations allow for real tension and this is expertly maintained by first time director J Blakeson.
The only slight disappointment comes at the end, which after all that has come before manages to be rather conventional and unsurprising, but this doesn’t diminish the power of what’s gone before. There is one reveal that elicited sniggers (you’ll guess which one when it happens), but that probably says more about the audience I saw it with than the film itself, and shouldn’t put you off a fine example of small British cinema.
Why see it at the cinema: The widescreen ratio is used to its best effect, creating feelings of both isolation and claustrophobia at the appropriate times.
The Score: 8/10