Time Out says
It’s the entire length of the film before we discover what past family tragedy has put Jackie’s life on hold and her in an unhappy state of suspended animation. It’s a tragedy (unfair to recount here) that returns violently to haunt her when she spots Clyde (Tony Curran) on her CCTV screen. He’s a tough and gregarious man, a locksmith popular with the area’s lost souls, such as young couple Stevie (Martin Compston) and April (Natalie Press), who share Clyde’s run-down flat on the imposing Red Road estate. He’s fresh out of jail, and when Jackie starts to flirt with him, first at a distance and later literally, we know that she’s living dangerously. The lack of information makes for a cocked, loaded experience. It’s brave, confident filmmaking that refuses to conform to easy conventions. It’s incredibly tense.
We never leave Jackie. The camera stays close as the rest of the world slips in and out of focus. This is first-person cinema. Arnold is a resistant filmmaker. She holds back information and indulges in a slow pace and a mysterious mood. Most of the action takes place on the sidelines, away from Jackie. There’s a vicious fight in a pub. There’s a great party scene, too, which recalls another party scene in Lynne Ramsay’s ‘Morvern Callar’, also seen from the viewpoint of a disengaged woman preoccupied with a secret. The film’s coup de théâtre, though, is an astonishing sex scene, the most powerful in a long time, that plays out in the nervy flickering light of a table-lamp kicked over by one of the players.
The film begs some questions, mainly about behaviour. Would Jackie act in such a way as we witness? Are her more extreme reactions a genuine product of grief? It’s an intriguing film to consider, and Arnold is the most sly of hosts. It’s a style of storytelling that’s both incredibly bold and distinctly promising.
Cast and crew