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Stars: Martin Herdman, Ian Hogg, Josh Herdman, Tracey Wilkinson, Marlene Sidaway, Mark Gillis, Sadie Shimmin

Director: Mark Gillis

Gillis scores a notable triple as first-time director, screenwriter and actor with this low-budget, high impact feature whose 'star' Herdman creates a character who is so real that there were times when I had to remind myself that the film was fiction and not an all-too-easy to believe documentary.

Herdman is completely convincing as a South Londoner who, after a career as a skilled manual worker, has lost his job,and is forced to try to survive on menial zero-hours work.

Adding to his problems, he now has to look after his dementia-suffering father who has been forced to leave his private care home and come to live with his son in his bedsit and, just for good measure, he also has to try keep his son free from drugs...

It says much for Gillis' screenplay and direction that the drama stays real and never veers into melodrama as we follow Herdman's struggles - with the lack of any real assistance from the Job Centre - forcing him finally to be lured by a sleazy drug baron ('It's just business!') into smuggling dope from France into England.

In synopsis, the key message of Sink - the current cruel savaging of workers' rights in the UK - might seem over-melodramatic. But - thanks to carefully underplayed but utterly credible key performances, well-used humour and effective London location filming - Gillis and his players bring the narrative chillingly alive.

On the evidence here, Ken Loach has a genuine contender on his heels.

Alan Frank

UK 2018. UK Distributor: Verve. Colour.
85 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

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

Review date: 14 Oct 2018