Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB
United Kingdom, 1995. British Film Institute, Channel Four Films, Dan Films. Screenplay by Chris Newby. Cinematography by Oliver Curtis. Produced by Julie Baines. Production Design by Paul Cross. Costume Design by Annie Symons. Film Editing by Chris Newby, Annabel Ware.
The unpleasant trappings of this tale of rough eroticism will turn off most viewers, though it helps that the actors do great work in the leads. John Hannah is a shy and unconfident gay man who believes that the large red birthmark on his face will forever keep him from finding love in any of the right places. He heads to the beach and comes into contact with a rough and tumble construction worker (Bernard Hill) who has just survived a murder attempt by his enemies. The two have a high conflict relationship from the start but somehow their outsider status draws them to each other as they squat in an abandoned, filthy house and spend their days making food, getting drunk and, eventually, getting physical in the sack. The experience has moments of emotional realism thanks to the rich characters that the actors create, but it seems that the relentlessly grimy filthiness (which includes, but is not limited to, a character eating a dead mouse) is meant to be mistaken for substance, and eventually the imagery becomes too much to bear.
Toronto International Film Festival: 1995