Brutal, bleak, full of the bitterness of life, this isn't much fun. But it's an impressive, disturbing glimpse of fear and loathing in a provincial Irish town. Late at night, Tina (Russell) waits for her army corporal husband Liam (Connolly) to return from work. When he finally makes it, a long argument erupts. Each is suspicious of what the other's been up to. They never find out, but we do. Liam's a calculating skirt-chaser; Tina fancies the wares at a hi-fi shop and also an absurdly enthusiastic salesman (Hanly). Juggling flashbacks, writer/director Stembridge masters a difficult structure: unfolding past and present, building up character, counterpoising word and deed, and finally suggesting a ruinously unbalanced relationship that obscures and distorts issues of blame and guilt. More than just a domestic drama, the film's an unflinching picture of communal discord and alienation amid the banalities of small-town life. It's also an indictment of the place of violence in society: the abuse of personal power and the hopelessness of keepingmilitary-bred qualities confined to barracks. An auspicious debut.