Down Terrace

"Excellent"

Down Terrace Review


Two weeks in the life of a family in Brighton turns into the most original British crime drama in years. Understated and deeply unsettling, this is a remarkable low-budget feature debut for director-cowriter Wheatley.

Bill (Robert Hill) is a self-proclaimed "simple person" living with his pragmatic wife Maggie (Deakin) and short-fused son Karl (Robert's real-life son Robin). When Karl finds out that his girlfriend (Kerry Peacock) is pregnant, it almost takes his mind of the shady, increasingly messy business dealings he and his dad are involved in. And their friends (Schaal, Way, Kempner and Smiley) aren't helping at all. So as trouble brews with their bosses in London, murder becomes the only option.

Filmed and played in a low-key, naturalistic style, the movie draws us in through its sheer ordinariness. These are believably real people, so nicely underplayed by the cast that the scenes feel improvised. And everyone looks normal, not like movie stars, which gives the interaction and paranoia a zing of authenticity. The camera darts around the scenes like our own eyeballs, following conversations while catching little details. And a clever blend of musical styles adds tension, humour and soul.

Without giving us too much information, Wheatley creates a fascinating atmosphere that lets us see past a slightly talky script and some uneven editing. Essentially this is a series of vignettes that feel like jokes leading to punch-lines that are often witty and sometimes horrific. The film is efficiently claustrophobic, rarely leaving the terraced house in which this fractured family lives while the real story is taking place outside. All of the characters have surprises in store, and the unpredictability of these people makes them feel that much more genuine.

Another strikingly original touch is Bill's stream of outspoken opinions, as he constantly moralises and criticises everyone based on lessons learned through his own criminal activity, furious that his son seems like a waste of space.

All of the actors are riveting, but the most striking, haunting performance comes from Deakin, who never hits a false note. "It's not the decisions that are tough," says Maggie. "It's the actions." And what these people do is increasingly desperate and chillingly irreversible.



Down Terrace

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 89 mins

In Theaters: Friday 15th October 2010

Box Office USA: $9.6k

Box Office Worldwide: $10 thousand

Budget: $31.2 thousand

Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Fresh: 28 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Andrew Starke

Starring: Robert Hill as Bill, Robin Hill as Karl, Julia Deakin as Maggie, David Schaal as Eric, Tony Way as Garvey, as Pringle, Kerry Peacock as Valda, Mark Kempner as Councillor Berman, Gareth Tunley as Johnny

Also starring:

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