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Stars: Orlando Bloom, Janet Montgomery, Alex Ferns, Anne Reid, Charlie Creed-Miles, James Smillie

Director: Ludwig & Paul Shammasian

Catholic guilt, portrayed with rather more flair recently in Saint Maud, is again the subject in this unrelentingly grim examination of the lasting effects of childhood abuse.

Having been sodomised by the local priest (Smillie) as a 12-year-old choirboy, Malky (Bloom, in a dramatic change of pace) is, 25 years later, permanently angry, short-fused, a fireball of barely repressed violence, which, even as he cares for his ageing mother (Reid), who had encouraged him to say nothing about the abuse, erupts in the form of self-abuse, horrific road rage, and violent anal sex with his girlfriend (Montgomery, good), which reflects his own past buggery.

Like I said, it's a grim watch which, like its leading character, who accidentally puts his best friend (Ferns) in hospital, pulls no punches, especially when Malky is stabbing his own hand with scissors several times over. And then the priest who committed the original atrocities, returns to the parish.

No subtleties here then, for this is sledgehammer stuff all the way through, with Bloom OK in his demanding role. The movie has been on the shelf for several years now, and it's not hard to see why, as, apart from its tricky subject, late-night TV would seem to be its natural home. Even given the horrendous circumstances, though, parts of this do come across as somewhat overwrought.

On most digital platforms from 26 February

David Quinlan

UK 2017. UK Distributor: Zee Studios International. Colour by Panalux.
91 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 21 Mar 2021