Keeping Rosy, 2014.
Directed by Steve Reeves.
Starring Maxine Peake, Blake Harrison, Elisa Lasowski and Christine Bottomley.
When Charlotte loses her job, it sparks off an unpredictable series of events that will change her life forever, for better or worse. Matters are further complicated when an innocent child becomes involved.
Independent British films usually tend to be one of two things: 1) a depressing, pretentious piece of film-making that takes it self far too seriously for the sake of neo-realism, 2) a solely narrative film with very little depth or compulsion, i.e anything with Danny Dyer starring. It suffices to say, Keeping Rosy is a pleasant break from those two categories. Keeping Rosy is grounded in its aims, it’s not too ambitious, as far as minimalist drama goes, Keeping Rosy hits the nail pretty much on the head, it’s gripping, unpredictable, powerful and very concise.
Maxine Peake stars as Charlotte, a career woman who is replaced in her position by one of her colleagues. One crucial moment of weakness causes Charlotte to lose her self control, which sends her plummeting into a downward spiral. The film takes a typical thriller formula, the archetypal blackmail and modernizes it to great success. Maxine Peake in particular shows fantastic acting range, she’s able to stimulate both hatred and sympathy, usually at the same time, in many different points in the story. Blake Harrison of Inbetweeners fame is also to be praised, he pulls off a very convincing villain, which is especially impressive given the fairly small time-frame in which he had to show it.
The film is a shining example of how you don’t need brand-name talent, a huge budget, effects or a studio to produce anything of quality, if your aims are reasonable and well grounded. Steve Reeves pilots a humble cast and a very tight script, while confined to only 3 or 4 different settings. Because the writing, acting and events are all so compelling, the scale seems rather insignificant. This in mind, the film could be said to fall into that dreary and moody disposition that many British films fall into, as there’s very rarely a moment of joy, jubilation or reprieve. The cynical and bitter tone is expected of a thriller, but this one could be called slightly excessive in its mood. This flaw is exaggerated by the fact that blackmail stories tend to depict a character with everything to lose, but in this case, Charlotte’s life seemed pretty unspectacular beforehand.
All in all, Keeping Rosy is one of the sleeper hits of this year so far. It’s very rare that an indie film comes along that is so straight-forward, so concise, so streamlined. That’s not to say the film is simple, there’s a lot happening beneath the blackmail that I won’t disclose due to spoilers. It also boasts one of the best climaxes to a film I’ve ever seen. Its gloomy, gritty and sombre disposition isn’t for everyone, but ultimately, the film shapes up to be a solid, suspenseful thriller that is not to be missed.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★