Joseph is a man seething with barely suppressed anger. Most of the time he keeps it bottled inside by a supreme act of will, but every now and then it spills over into an act of brutal violence. At his lowest ebb, he takes refuge in a charity shop run by Hannah.
The two people appear to be polar opposites - he lives on a hellish estate, she lives in a nice house. She offers to pray for him and he savagely mocks her naive beliefs as being empty pretence. However, Joseph slowly comes to realise that Hannah is hiding something. She is being abused by her bullying and controlling husband, and has nowhere else to go.
This film is not an easy watch. Peter Mullan portrays an icy self control as Joseph and Olivia Colman finds hidden depths as Hannah. Director Paddy Considine allows the story to tell itself at an unforced pace and take unexpected turns where necessary. One scene in particular stands out for the way that it confounds expectations of the characters, and yet it makes perfect sense in the greater context of the story.
We were lucky enough to see this film at a preview screening, followed by a Q&A session with Paddy Considine himself. It was a rare treat to hear first hand about his influences and inspirations, in particular Gary Oldman who encouraged him to go ahead with making the film he wanted to make. He also explained that while he was influenced by social realism, he set out to make a film that would look cinematic and he has certainly achieved this, even with a budget limited to £750,000.
Well worth seeing, if you get the chance.