Lawless Heart (15)

Review by Simon Bell

WARNING: Some may find the following content disturbing… Delivered to an unsuspecting public only weeks after Asif Kapadia's The Warrior, and with new work on the way soon from Mike Leigh, Ken Loach and Lynne Ramsay, could we possibly be on the cusp of something strange and becoming for Big Screen Britain…?

For Indielondon can now officially declare that there is yet another UK gem lurking in a cinema near you at this very moment… And it comes from the brains and propensity of writer-directors Neil Hunter and Tom Hunsinger.

Set in a small, rustic Essex coastal town called Maldon, Lawless Heart tells the same story from three different perspectives - Bill Nighy, suffering the woes of a mid-life crisis and a stagnant marriage; Dougie Henshall, nomadic hippee back from foreign lands; and Tom Hollander, a newly bereaved gay man.

All are connected to the recently deceased Stuart, a gay restaurateur in the local village.

But this is no experiment in faux-clever cinematic construction. Instead it's an entertaining and very intelligent exploration of relationships - gay or straight - and how a close-knit collection of uncommonly divergent characters respond to minor conflicts.

Dougie Henshall is all cheeky chirpy Cockney, a la Michael Caine (appalling, but still only a minor blemish rather than irritating distraction) back from years abroad and on the scrounge once again, while Nighy gives one of his best performances by far.

Elsewhere, Sean Bobbitt's photography gives each of the three narratives a separate look and ambience and it's set to a cracking score composed by former Waterboy Adrian Johnston.

Anyway, go and see it… otherwise you're a cunt.