Perhaps not as strong a film as the "deaf cast" hype would have suggested but it is still a good mystery with an enjoyable narrative and good cast
Flatmates Chris, Connor, Dean and Jak return to their flat with their friends having stocked up on drink to continue their evening with a house party. The night ends abruptly when Chris falls from the balcony of the high rise flat. The police are called and everyone is questioned as to what happened, the relationship between those involved and the specifics of the night. As Dean is deaf, the police call in interpreter Penny to assist with the sign language. When Chris dies in hospital a few days later, the police bring in a couple of suspects for questions and Penny yet again finds herself questioning Dean while at the same time starting an entirely inappropriate relationship with him.
This film was sold in the UK on the back of it being an unusual mix of hearing and deaf actors using a mix of words and sign language. In fairness this aspect of it is a selling point because it is a rarity for a mainstream (primetime BBC2) dramatic film, but it is not the only thing it has going for it and you quickly get past the novelty value of this after the first 15 minutes or so. After this it just becomes a pretty good mystery drama that follows the current struggles of Dean and Penny, spliced through with flashbacks of the night leading up to Chris' death. It is an effective story that works well even if it could have done with a bit more pace and urgency at times. Instead of slickness it aims for a bit of depth but I didn't think it had the material required to pull it off providing a backbone to the tale even if I wanted a nervous system and heart as well.
The cast are all pretty good. Lynch is good as our way into the story but her dilemmas are placed secondary as the film progresses and her role within the tale is not as concrete as I would have liked. Mawle is impressive as Dean and the film belongs to him. The material takes him an obvious path and I felt it pushed him away from the road where he could have developed more of a person, but he is still very strong. Support from Dunbar, Stuke, Colgan and others is all solid enough with no bad performances but on the whole the film was with Mawle and Lynch.
A good one-off drama then. Perhaps not as strong a film as the "deaf cast" hype would have suggested but it is still a good mystery with an enjoyable narrative and roundly good performances.
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