This brief synopsis suggests both the complexity of the various relationships at play in Woods’ follow-up to ‘The Boys’ and the story’s potential for a slide towards melodrama. Happily, while the film could have lapsed into crime-thriller cliché or sensationalist hysteria, Woods prefers to concentrate on characterisation and interplay. The details of the Hearts’ backstory are revealed only gradually, so interesting nuances develop as the film proceeds. Likewise, what looks set to be a tense but trite finale never actually arrives; the loss in suspense is more than compensated for by the gain in plausibility and moral resonance.
It’s a sober, sensitive film, then, about degrees of dependency, grief, guilt, recrimination and recuperation. Striving to overcome anxiety, loneliness and resentment, the various characters move in endless murky circles, inhabiting an almost incestuously closed world where drugs, deceit and despair forever threaten to drag them down. It’s an admirably tough film, too; the fine performances never romanticise the characters. Consequently, the glimmer of hope that accompanies one of their number finally taking proper control is richly deserved, and rightly rewarding.
Cast and crew