Long on style but short on narrative coherence, this debut feature by its star's 40-something son fails to stitch together when it counts and at the last minute calls on an audience allegiance to the main character that it has never really earned.
The always-watchable Rampling is the title character, a London divorcee who, when we meet her, is putting her toe back in the dating water with the encouragement of her daughter Emmy (Atwell). On a speed-dating evening she takes a shine to a man who is later found dead. Bernie Reid (Byrne), a detective with problems of his own (naturally), sees her leave the crime scene but rather than simply ask her a few questions and take her details, as most cops would, he embarks on something that looks uncomfortably close to stalking her.
The more we learn about Anna, the more we think that is not a very good idea, though we're not sure whether to worry about him or her.
There's more murk than menace in the noirish thriller that unfolds, although the two principals play their parts well and versatile Mike Leigh regular Marsan is a pleasure to watch as Reid's colleague.
And it's certainly technically accomplished: Southcombe has a smart eye for the telling detail - the glint of wine in a glass, the bulge of neck above a stiff collar.
Meanwhile, cinematographer Ben Smithard, shooting in eerily cold blues and greys in which small splashes of colour seem almost violently full of meaning, makes a depopulated London a doom-laden and alienating place. But the cool electronic score is overdone and it would have been a much better film had Southcombe devoted more time to tightening up the narrative. The heavily semaphored sort-of twist ending just feels lame.
Cast: Charlotte Rampling, Gabriel Byrne, Eddie Marsan, Hayley Atwell
Director: Barnaby Southcombe
Running time: 93 mins
Verdict: Stylish but clunky
- TimeOutBy Peter Calder Email Peter