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Stars: Eloise Laurence, Tim Roth, Rory Kinnear, Cillian Murphy, Robert Emms, Bill Milner, Denis Lawson, Zana Marjanovic, Rory Girvan, Faye Daveney, Nell Tiger Free, Martha Bryant

Director: Rufus Norris

This grim piece is a barrel of laughs and no mistake. In the circle at the end of a quiet suburban cul-de-sac live three disparate families in spacious detached houses: first, there's a quiet couple and their 'simple' son, Rick (Emms), who enjoys washing cars and is sweet on the film's central character, 12-year-old diabetic Emily (Laurence), unflatteringly known to everyone as Skunk.

She lives with her divorced father Archie (Roth) and his housekeeper Kasia (Marjanovic). Across the way live hot-tempered Bob (Kinnear) and his three, aggressive, sluttish daughters. It's a strange and combustible mix that explodes after one of Bob's daughters, caught with her sister's contraceptives, lies and says she has had sex with Rick.

Assuming rape, Bob storms across the road and savagely beats Rick.

Skunk, in her first year at senior school, where Kasia's lover Mike (Murphy) teaches, is soon bloodily 'bashed up' by two of Bob's daughters. Mike breaks it up and gives the younger sister detention. Meanwhile, Skunk finds consolation in her budding friendship with Jed (Milner) in their disused caravan hideaway, a 'tip' area that doesn't seem to go with the rest of this suburbia.

Well, Kasia takes up with Archie after Mike storms off, the daughter who cried rape really does gets pregnant (by Skunk's bother) and Bob breaks into Mike's classroom and beats him to a pulp. Don't ask: worse, much, much worse, is to follow.

There's some talent here before the cameras, to be sure, not least Laurence in her first role, but none in the absurd script which, in between boring bits, fails to convince us at all about this mounting mayhem in Metroland.

David Quinlan

UK 2012. UK Distributor: StudioCanal. Colour by deluxe.
90 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 01 Mar 2013