'Every word I'm telling you is true,' adds Crossley (Bates), beginning his terrible story which makes up the substance of The Shout: a means of whiling away time at the village versus asylum cricket match where he and Robert Graves (author of the source story, played by Curry) are designated scorers. And fascinatingly, it is the boundaries between truth and falsehood that merge, rather than those between madness and insanity. For Crossley is undoubtedly mad, mendacious and cunning, viciously manipulating his chosen victims - a musician (Hurt) and his wife (York) - appealing sometimes across omniscient peaks of rationality and sometimes by scornful superiority. But what seems like his biggest whopper - his claim to kill with his shout - is proven. Skolimowski's second feature made in Britain is something of a triumph for independent production, with an impressively streamlined screenplay and faultless performances.