Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

This is uncomfortable viewing, touching in places, deeply unsettling in others. While its subject is outwith societal norms, indeed, as one character puts it "against every rule", it convinces and affects.

This Life alum Jason Hughes is Mark, with an unspecified job somewhere in London and a nice flat. Kirsty Bushell is Sarah, his sister, who has been some unspecified 'away', not in contact with their mother. They play well with each other, always convincing as siblings through wine-soaked Channel-4-type conversations and then beyond.

The film stays with them through two major external events, the consequences of one personal. They talk about the Olympic bid, there's a confrontation after what appears to be the 7/7 attacks, and there is the central event.

Jo McInnes has had minor roles as an actress, but in this, her directorial debut, she shows a confident touch and a keen eye. Writer Simon Stevens has an ear for familial dialogue, and while this is a small-scope two-hander he's put more than enough there to mull over. Between the subject and the direction this most immediately reminds one of Haneke's work, the juxtaposition of the seeming mundane and the obscene of one kind or another. The lighting feels more televisual than filmic, but that lends it a particular documentary air - that may well be unintentional, a product of audience sensibilities warped by 'reality' television, but it suits.

This is an intimate, intense, harrowing little film, 'un-homely' to borrow from Freud, but all the more intriguing for it.

Reviewed on: 20 Jun 2009
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A brother and sister experience crises together.

Director: Jo McInnes

Writer: Simon Stephens

Starring: Jason Hughes, Kirsty Bushell

Year: 2009

Runtime: 23 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2009

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