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Stars: Robert Carlyle, Steve Evets, Rachael Blake, Michael Socha, Joanna Tulej

Director: Kenny Glenaan

About as miserable and depressing as they come, this gloomy piece centres on fortysomething Shaun (Carlyle), a dishevelled and permanently unshaven loser who looks after his childhood friend Daz (Evets), who has been paralysed since an accident when both were running from the police. Daz is dying from cirrhosis.

Dyslexic and illiterate, Shaun finds his mind wandering back to his 16th summer, and his girlfriend Katy (Tulej), a bright spark who not only gives him sex, but helps him with his coursework. Shaun's resentment at his condition, however, boils over during a school exam and he crushes his hand in a vice, soon afterwards trying to burn the school down.

The director has described the film as 'funny...with a lot of laughs', but you can only wonder what version he's been watching: this one's about as cheerful and sunny as last August.

Carlyle can do this kind of morosity in his sleep, but none of the camera tricks can disguise the fact that he's considerably shorter than the actor playing himself as a teen. Evets is OK as the understandably bitter Daz, but Blake is just wan as the adult Katy compared to the vibrant performance of Tulej as the character's younger self.

Excellent, crisply clear photography throughout by Tony Slater-Ling somewhat lightens the gloom.

David Quinlan

UK 2008. UK Distributor: Vertigo. Fujicolor.
84 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

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

Review date: 02 Dec 2008