The family of Raymond, his wife Val and her brother Billy live in working-class London district. Also in their family is Val and Billy's mother Janet and grandmother Kath. Billy is a drug addict and Raymond kicks him out of the house, making him live on his own. Raymond is generally a rough and even violent person, and that leads to problems in the life of the family.Written by
Gustaf Molin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Not a great film but truly a powerful and engaging experience
Much more an experience than a narrative-based film this project. Gary Oldman's directorial debut betrays some of his weaknesses but shows a lot of strength with a subject that he also scripted. From the very start we find ourselves in the type of pub/club that, as an educated liberal I find incredibly intimidating. I'm not trying to be elitist (although I'm sure it will come across that way) but the characters in this film are instantly recognisable to me and very frightening. People who carry their frustrations without knowing what they are angry at and ultimately are just out and out angry at everything whether it be just a minor bump in a pub. This is the world of the film and within it we have a loose narrative about a problem within the family of Billy, who is a junkie but the main thrust is less about a specific story but rather just putting the audience in the middle of this trapped and violent family and leaving us to find our own way.
This approach makes the film a little weak structurally and does produce some scenes where Oldman relies on heavy use of music to just play over silent scenes but mostly it works. The way that it does work is that the experience is so visceral and convincing that the viewer doesn't care so much that it lacks a story with star, middle and end but rather feels the scenario and characters. Oldman directs in the grim and smoke of the environment and, while not technically impressive to watch, it works with the theme and content. What he does very well is draw some great performances from the British cast. Winstone has become famous off the back of characters like this and he nails not just the anger but the misplaced sense of frustration and inadequacy; he doesn't wear it like a badge but merges it really well into his character so that it is easy to just see him as an angry thug. Burke is better known as a comedic actress but she is tremendous here really convincing and full of fear, when she says she feels so very old I really believed her. Creed-Miles feels a bit out to one side but is also strong as are Morse, Morrison and others in supporting roles.
Nil By Mouth is not a fun or pleasant film and the language is extreme and endless. Nor is it a great film in regards structure, flow or narrative. However what it is very good as is an experience which is convincing and uncomfortably real. Poverty is terrible in any place and being trapped in it for generations is worse; Oldman does not pity his characters nor does he blame others for their problems but he makes them both sympathetic but also repugnant and it is the overall experience of watching that make thes film one worth seeing.
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