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Stars: Paul Bettany, Stephen Graham, Mark Strong, Brian Cox, Natasha Little, Zoe Tapper, Naomi Battrick, Ben Crompton, Adrian Edmondson, Sandra Voe, Daniel McEvoy, Elizabeth Lowe

Director: Nick Murphy

This moody tale of crime and conscience that benefits considerably from George Richmond’s suitably bleak cinematography of well chosen Wirral locations has been adapted – and concentrated - by Bill Gallagher from his 2004 television drama Conviction.

When policemen brothers Paul Bettany and Stephen Graham investigate the murder of a 12-year-old girl they are soon convinced the perpetrator is known local paedophile Ben Crompton. And, when he fails to break down during powerful interrogation, Bettany and Graham decide to follow the example of the commanding father Brian Cox – now flailing with the onset of dementia – and grab Crompton and take him “to the islands” where his murder ensues, leaving the perpetrators suffering from escalating guilt while their superior – potently played by Mark Strong – leads the hunt to find out who killed Crompton…

While there are some obvious results from the shortening of a miniseries into a feature film, Gallagher does a decent-enough job of abridgement, allowing director Nick Murphy to make the most of his material, well aided and abetted by Bettany and Graham whose potent performances hold one’s attention. Cox, too, is first rate and genuinely terrifying as an Alzheimer’s victim and the key themes of conscience and responsibility are put over with holding force.

By the way, should it help them appreciate the film, British cinemagoers have already paid for it: BBC TV are one of the film's producers and their TV licence fee takings were used to get it off the ground.

Alan Frank

UK 2012. UK Distributor: Entertainment One UK. Colour.
92 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 31 May 2013