After serving 17 years for a murder rap that ended his fearsome reign as an Edinburgh loan shark, Nickie Dryden (Connolly) leaves jail as a lauded writer and sculptor. Though Nickie believes he's discharged his debt to society, his former arresting officer Gary Keltie (Stott) thinks otherwise, and will remind anyone who cares to listen, especially Nickie's wife (Annis). Coming from theatre, first-time drirector Neilson promises a suspenseful revenge drama, turning on the compelling theme of Nickie's culpability against atonement and reform, contrasted with Keltie's obsessive crusade. Solid performances go some way to mitigate Nielson's technical unsteadiness. But when it becomes clear that the director can't illuminate his characters' motivations beyond dropping clues about Keltie's professional and personal disappointments, the film fetches up in the primal revenge territory of Cape Fear in reverse: a repentant, reformed ex-convict is harassed by a brooding, bitter and vengerful cop. An unlikely proposition.
The Debt Collector
Cast and crew