A through and through study of human behaviour, economics and hats.
Leigh is rebellious in here. He is breaking the rules, he has got an attitude, he has got a crooked smile, so basically he is in a teenager phase. But Mike Leigh, the director, matured sooner than the usual. He is fooling you for an almost two hours of this film. The entire film is dedicated to its last act, which is anything but cinematic. And in order to make it live up to the expectations of “the finale” he works smoothly from the first frame. For instance, the sadness is physically acted out. A loose behavior in a public place is Leigh’s window. The strangers are his target. And background score, to elevate the poignancy.
Yet, Gary Oldman steals the show. Not for, he is the face of it. But he is the soul it. Watch him wear those shameless pants and you will be attracted to his performance of being incredibly repellant to you and the characters around him. Leigh speaks through manners. Ergo, when a guy with simply good mannerism enters the frame, the film is lit with his presence that comes off as a shining knight of this tale. He leaves pretty soon, there is no place for decency in this house.
If Oldman gets to flex his muscles, Tim Roth is kept on hold; plus, it is uncanny to watch Roth play a good boy. But Phil Daniels has the difficult task to bridge all these relations with a practical body language that not only grounds this house but also communicates the most with the audience with his flaws and mistakes and selfishness; if you can call it that. I have never wanted the film to not end more than this film. Meantime, leaves you satisfied and with images to what or how things will be, dream away, I wish I could see Roth having a breakfast with his family that morning.