Eye For Film >> Movies >> Postcode Lottery (2012) Film Review
Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson
Mandy has cancer. Jed has cancer. Mandy is receiving a particular treatment for her cancer. Jed isn't. Mandy is attempting to have a quiet evening at home. Jed won't let her.
Strident, blackly comic, bearing that particular Northern edge, Postcode Lottery is entertaining, surprising, moving. This isn't a conventional life-affirming cancer narrative, this is angrier, more personal. While there are discussions as to the relative merits of sushi versus pies, there are also more affecting moments; "should have refused these on moral grounds" isn't the half of it, a montage of Jed trying to cobble together the money to get his treatment privately is heart-rending. Jed's sense of betrayal is palpable, not least because he "built this hospital".
Con O'Neill plays Jed with a weary fury, not hard for someone of his talent - he's done a stack of TV work, but also starred in 2008's Telstar. As Mandy, Jo Hartley manages a different tack - while she's got "a new lease on life" she's still trying to get things in order. Amongst a good supporting cast there are crash courses in life skills, competitive pull-ups, and some concerning moments on a rooftop.
Part of Channel Four's Coming Up scheme, the film pairs first time writer Laurence Wilson with debut director Tom Marshall. This is an at times startling portrait of a certain kind of modernity - three generations in a house with a stripper pole, the kind of 'now' that's got cosmetic surgery and remortgages. The script manages to avoid most cliches of the genre, packing a few surprises among its grim chuckles. There's what seems like obvious compositing during some of the rooftop scenes, but that's possibly a product of budget requirements - in this day and age it's probably cheaper (not to mention safer) to put your cast on a green screen before you put them on a ledge, but that does unfortunately tax suspension of disbeief. That's not just an artifact of seeing these on a big screen; the angles seem off, but that's really just an obsessive's nit-picking. Elsewhere we get the rhythms of Wilson's script, and Marshall's direction helps give us a real sense of thse characters. This is yet another one of 2012's Coming Up crop that features a newspaper clipping (in fact, two) to convey important information, as with the series' composer Dan Parry it's a small technical thing done well, an indicator as to the quality of Channel Four's film making apparatus. Having been handed the keys, Marshall and Wilson have made a touching portrait of a man who isn't alone on the edge, even if he doesn't yet realise it.Reviewed on: 04 Jul 2012