Brimstone and Treacle

  • Film
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Into the musty atmosphere of the Bates' suburban household comes incubus/angel figure Martin Taylor (a pleasing performance from Sting in a role which conveniently requires the star to be seen to be acting). Posing as a friend of their recently brain-damaged child, the narcissistic Taylor charms the prayer-trusting, light-brained mother (Plowright) and challenges the lustfully guilt-ridden father (Elliott), while doing dirty deeds to their daughter in the front room. The quality and ambiguities of good and evil get a thorough, if predictable going-over as Taylor manoevres around the parents like a clay-footed Pan. Betrayed by an over-familiar plotline (Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane and Pasolini's Theorem for a start) it also suffers from a mild case of stagebounditis as a TV play transferred to the big screen. Otherwise very watchable, thanks to a trio of superb performances, and confident, well-paced direction which only goes overboard in the fantasy sequences.

Release details

Duration: 87 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Richard Loncraine
Screenwriter: Dennis Potter
Cast: Sting
Denholm Elliott
Joan Plowright
Suzanna Hamilton
Benjamin Whitrow
Dudley Sutton
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