Monday 11 January 2016

Keeping Rosy - film review

Keeping Rosy is a 2014 film directed and co-written by Steve Reeves which tells a story of an accidental killing, and the unforeseen and dramatic consequences of an attempt to cover it up. It is, in its essentials, a story not dissimilar to the psychological studies of murder dating back to the Twenties and Thirties - I'm thinking of books like Payment Deferred, the bleak and powerful short early novel by C.S. Forester.

Keeping Rosy is, like Forester's book, short, snappy,and doom-laden. It is, again like Forester's, set in London - not in a depressing part of the suburbs, but in a (some might say, equally depressing) posh new high-rise apartment block. Maxine Peake lives a rather lonely life there. She's a driven career woman, who is evidently jealous of a colleague who brings a new baby into work. Things go from bad to worse when a promotion she thought was in the bag proves not to be forthcoming.

She walks out on the job, threatening to claim constructive dismissal (often a rash move, as most employment lawyers will tell you) and erupts when she finds that her cleaning lady is smoking while she works. From there, things turn rather nasty, and there's a fascinating plot twist quite early on which explains the film's enigmatic title, and which lifts it out of the ordinary run of thrillers of this kind.

Peake is a powerful and versatile actor whose portrayal of a woman on the verge of disintegration is very watchable. It is weakened, however, by the fact that she presents her character as so repellent. Although we see increasing touches of humanity in her as the story progresses, I think the film would have been  more compelling if some of those touches had been evident early on. But overall, this is a well-made film which makes good use of its location, and doesn't outstay its welcome. Definitely worth a watch.

No comments: