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Good Woman is Hard to Find, A


Stars: Sarah Bolger, Edward Hogg, Andrew Simpson, Jane Brennan

Director: Abner Pastoll

Eventually as violent and dark a crime drama as you will see this year, this grim Northern Ireland-set piece does take forever to get going. If you can get past a slow-moving and dreary first half-hour, full of shots dwelling on faces, the film moves up a gear to become a blood-drenched thriller.

Bolger is the glue that holds it together, even though her speech is too soft at times, as she portrays a recently widowed mother, Sarah, with two children whose husband was recently murdered. Her mother (Bennett) is convinced he was a drug dealer, but Sarah passionately believes he was clean.

It's not clear how Sarah gets by moneywise, but she has more pressing problems when a fugitive criminal, Tito (Simpson) crashes into her house, carrying a fortune in drugs and on the run from the ruthless drugs kingpin Miller (Hogg) who smashes anyone who stands in his way with a hammer.

Tito stashes his stolen cache at Sarah's place and returns from time to time. They strike up a wary acquaintance, but when he tries to rape her, Sarah finds a convenient knife and stabs him to death. How to get rid of the body?

A scene where Sarah buys hammer, hacksaw and axe raises more laughs than perhaps it should, but there's a little irony at work here, too, as the scene cuts to Miller threatening to chop Tito into little bits, little knowing that Sarah is at home doing precisely that.

By a freak chance, the gang gets on to Sarah, and the scene is set for the inevitable showdown.

On the whole, the film is ruthlessly well made, although even in its last hour, there are one or two lethargic patches. The ending though, and its coda too, provides satisfying fun.

David Quinlan

UK/Belgium 2019. UK Distributor: Signature. Colour (unspecified).
97 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

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

Review date: 18 Oct 2019