Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB
United Kingdom/Belgium/France, 2019. February Films, Frakas Productions, Superbe Films. Screenplay by Ronan Blaney. Cinematography by Richard C. Bell. Produced by Guillaume Benski, Junyoung Jang. Music by Matthew Pusti. Production Design by Gillan Devenney. Costume Design by Elise Ancion. Film Editing by Abner Pastoll.
This intimate thriller sets its heroine up in a dire situation and then holds your attention until the satisfying climax, at times potent and clever despite its unimaginative premise. Sarah Bolger is a mother of two small children who has recently been widowed after her husband was stabbed to death in their Belfast council estate neighbourhood. The police have told her not to bother looking into his death further as it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie, while her judgmental mother, who never approved the marriage, believes the police suspicion that her husband was killed while dealing drugs. Struggling to get by financially (the old “a few pounds short at the grocery counter” routine), Bolger’s life gets so much more complicated when a dealer who has stolen a cache of drugs from his superiors runs into her apartment while making a getaway. Forcing her to let him stash the goods in her apartment by threatening to do violence to her and her children, the young stranger ends up ingratiating himself into her life against her will and she, desperate both to keep violence out of her house but also anxious to find out any information about her husband’s death, is at her wit’s end as to how to keep the situation in balance. Eventually things take a highly improbable turn but, after almost an hour and a half of Bolger giving the same panting sob to the camera without ever delivering much more depth than that, the film’s switch to grindhouse revenge thriller in its concluding act is a welcome relief. The very quick shooting schedule shows in the acting but not in the settings, which are effective and beautifully photographed by cinematographer Richard Bell.