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Nil by Mouth

  • Film
A still from the film Nil by Mouth of a man shouting while smoking a cigarette

Time Out says

Gary Oldman’s debut as writer/director is so uncompromisingly honest, it makes other portraits of working-class life look like sour caricature or misplaced idealism. Oldman grew up in south east London, the setting for this tale of macho violence, drunkenness, drug addiction and petty crime, and very clearly knows what he's talking about. He's helped, of course, by stunning performances from his entire cast, most notably Winstone as the volatile but self-pitying Ray, given to beating up his long-suffering wife (Kathy Burke) and threatening her irresponsible junkie brother (Charlie Creed-Miles).

There's no sermonising or romanticising here, just a sad, clear-eyed acknowledgement that domestic abuse and crime create a vicious circle from which many barely even try to escape. Shot and scripted in a deceptively casual, bleakly 'realist' style, it's the closest Britain has produced to a Cassavetes film, and as such, profoundly humane.

Re-released in UK cinemas in 4K Nov 4.

Written by GA

Release Details

  • Duration:124 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Gary Oldman
  • Screenwriter:Gary Oldman
  • Cast:
    • Jon Morrison
    • Kathy Burke
    • Edna Doré
    • Ray Winstone
    • Laila Morse
    • Chrissie Cotterill
    • Charlie Creed-Miles
    • Jamie Forman
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