The film’s scriptwriters, Alice Lowe and Steve Oram, play the leads; Lowe, as a thirty something Tina, looking to escape the emotional blackmail of a dependent mother, and Oram, as a slightly older Chris, who takes her on a low-cost touring caravan holiday, staying at backwater sites with facilities that are throwback to an earlier age when hot water was a luxury. They are successors to Mike Leigh’s brilliant creations, the faux bourgeois and smug Keith and Candice from ‘Nuts In May’, but now taking the form of ordinary working class ‘Brummies’, who unnecessarily finish sentences with a question and make a virtue out of inverted snobbery. Everything is hunky dory in a Seventies UK sitcom sort of way or, at least, until they encounter people and in particular, those who drop litter or adopt a sacrimonous attitude; crimes against humanity that bring out Chris’ inner pyscho with shocking results.
What starts as the contamination of Tina’s innocence in the name of love – pleasing her man by embracing his gruesome tantrums – gradually becomes a warped emancipation with a shift in the balance of power, Tina calling the shots and Chris adopting a truly perverse moral high ground. It is all bookended by two versions of the Northern Soul classic, ‘Tainted Love’; first the Soft Cell cover that brought it to a wider audience and, then, a gender switch to the Gloria Jones’ original once Tina’s transformation is complete.
Anchored by Lowe and Oram’s smart script and wonderfully deadpan performances, it successfully injects the macabre into the quotidian without entirely alienating the protagonists. For some reason, we retain an affection for their simple outlook that accepts the naff as fit for purpose, the childlike quality of their conversation in all social situations and the caravan rocking ‘bull in a china-shop’ attempts at wild lovemaking. Watch out for Tina’s hand-knitted ‘sexy’ lingerie that sends Chris asleep and complements his very long ginger beard and trusty orange kagool.
There are solid supporting performances from Eileen Davies playing Tina’s ailing mother at the point that she is losing her powers as the fierce matriarch, Richard Glover as an artless inventor who innocently seduces Chris with his twaddle and – in a nod to ‘Nuts In May’ – Jonathan Aris captures something of Keith in his portrayal of a writer now on other side of the fence with little chance of making it to the end of the film.
Consolidating his reputation as one of the more interesting cinematic voices to emerge during recent years, Wheatley does a superb job integrating material into a very pleasing whole, which in lesser hands, could easily have come across as a series of comic sketches.
And Laurie Rose, returning from Wheatley’s ‘Dead Terrace’ and ‘Kill List’ makes the most of the tourist settings for a more expansive cinematography, which takes on an irony all of its own in playing to connotations totally at odds with the action unfolding on the screen.buy female viagrafemale viagra for salewomens viagra onlinegeneric female viagra