Like 'Mona Lisa' in Yorkshire, this chewy thriller set in Bradford's Pakistani community boasts an unusually starry cast
‘The only men who get caught are those who don’t love their wives enough’. So says philandering billionaire Demi (Harvey Keitel), shortly before he pops his clogs and leaves his driver Donald (Gabriel Byrne) to clear up his mess – mostly involving his mistress Amber (Sibylla Deen).
Surprisingly, all this happens in Bradford, the home of first-time co-writer and director Mitu Misra, who shows both inexperience and promise in this cluttered but intriguing thriller. Aussie actress Deen is impressive as the trainee lawyer who’s struggling to do right by her strict Muslim family, while Byrne brings a downtrodden gravitas, recalling the 1986 crime drama ‘Mona Lisa’, as he wearily agrees to help Amber keep the truth from her family. There’s a lot going on here, including a surfeit of subplots that could have been films in themselves, such as the arranged marriage of Amber’s younger sister. Amber is by far the most interesting character, but there are inconsistencies that betray the film’s male perspective: this strong woman is constantly asking Donald what she should do.
Nonetheless, it’s well performed and a periodically fascinating study of Bradford’s seedy underbelly that’s rarely seen on film – the sexual rituals in shady nightclubs are a far cry from the cheeky car-rocking of ‘Rita, Sue and Bob Too’. For all its rough edges, this has an air of authenticity that only a local filmmaker could bring, and it’s certainly a curiosity worth seeing.
Cast and crew