We’ll watch the masterful Eddie Marsan (‘Happy-Go-Lucky’, ‘The World’s End’) in just about anything, but in this low-budget British film he squirms through the underwritten part of a meek government employee whose job is to arrange the last rites of Londoners found dead without next of kin.
Our loner hero John has a fastidiousness that’s become a cliché in movies: his office desk is neat and arranged, his flat is tidy, his meals (tuna and toast) unassuming. A stiff breeze would knock the poor guy down – and he’s filmed at a precious remove to emphasise a fragility that feels studied.
‘Still Life’ constantly threatens to be a better film: John’s scrutiny of photos feels vaguely serial-killer-esque, and there’s a late-on love interest (Joanne Froggatt from ‘Downton Abbey’) that you cheer on. But writer-director Uberto Pasolini has an especially maudlin ending in mind.