Poliakoff's second film as a director marks a distinct change in tone from his rather more languid earlier pieces. It begins in a café full of signals of decay - a ketchup squirter has a rotten tooth inside - and moves forward in time and affluence as brother and sister Richard and Natalie (Owen and Reeves), parted in childhood by divorce, reunite one blistering summer for a torrid, incestuous affair. 'Being single - it's not as simple as it used to be,' declares Richard to his sister one riverside evening. Given that he's rogering her, not only helping her to cheat on husband Rickman (a superbly dynamic performance) but also putting off a visit to his boss who's dying of AIDS, this is some understatement. Despite its obsession with covering up Owen's cock, this is steamy and passionate stuff. As well as the forbidden love theme, the film is also about the end of the '80s, and is full of intelligent insights into physical and moral decay, contrasting the squalor and bathos of the city with the cloistered joys of suburban greenery.
Cast and crew
Saskia Reeves Kate Gartside Karl Johnson Clive Owen Lesley Sharp Alan Rickman Karen Knight