Still Life is a poignant, quixotic tale of life, love and the afterlife. Meticulous and organized to the point of obsession, John May (Eddie Marsan) is a council worker charged with finding the next of kin of those who have died alone. When his department is downsized, John must up his efforts on his final case, taking him on a liberating journey that allows him to start living life at last.Written by
The song played at the Greek left-handed bouzouki player's funeral (second in order at the start of the movie) is Misirlou, a song of numerous covers and versions in discography, famously appearing in the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, amongst others. See more »
Hear that?... Managed to fight both management and union reps about the afternoon break... He won us five extra minutes, then, uh, fucked off... Just, uh, just packed it in... But before he does that, what does he do?... Pisses in a vat of pork meat. Some of the batch got through... Pies never tasted so good... Here, have one.
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A tour-de-force by Eddie Marsan, in the quietest possible way. This is a poignant, thoughtful look at a man out of step with the modern world, who still holds to the (outdated) values of treating others with dignity and respect, in their last journey. He plays a British civil servant whose job is to organise funerals for those who have died alone, and locate their friends/relatives to advise them of their bereavement. After 22 years, he still pursues each new case with understated vigour, diligently seeking out anyone who may have had a connection to the deceased, but often being the sole attendant at the funeral.
It is a beautifully filmed slice-of-life on the themes of loneliness, loss and the disconnection of human beings in modern urban life. Marsan's performance is very authentic and affecting, and one is drawn in by his compassion and humanity. But then his Council decides it is inefficient - as a cost-cutting measure, you understand - to maintain his job, as "once they're dead, they don't care"... Marsan, battling till his final day in the face of bureaucratic indifference, finds some genuine connections and a ray of hope appears on his horizon...
This movie had lots of small moments of humour - a scene with two homeless men, and another with a Corrections officer are subtly amusing. But mostly, it is a thought-provoking homage to our humanity, and a reminder that social contacts with those we care for, are often the most positive, important and joyous moments of our lives. The movie sneaks up on you, and reaches into your soul, and I will remember it for a long time.
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