Friday, 18 July 2014

SHORT REVIEW: Keeping Rosy (2014)

This short review appears on The Upcoming website here.

Keeping Rosy is a difficult film to write about, since it is highly recommended that you go to see it without knowing anything about it – and especially without watching the dodgy, tell-all trailer. So be warned, your enjoyment of this film may even be seriously diminished by continuing to read this review.

Charlotte (Maxine Peake) has just been laid off and she isn’t feeling all right. After an unpleasant confrontation with her cleaner Maya (Elisa Lasowski), she is trapped in a situation that will only get worse and worse and there isn’t much of a way out for her. She is forced to do things that she wouldn’t normally do and find the inner strength to escape.

Without giving too much away, Keeping Rosy is ultimately a thriller and it moves along at a great pace, conveying a lot quickly and rarely getting sidetracked. The tension doesn’t flag, and the plot unravels in twists and turns slowly and convincingly. However, aside from being an excellent genre picture, it also works very well as a character study and as social commentary.

Peake gives a fantastic performance, one that holds the film together and what turns it from being an exercise in coldness and cruelty into something really rather moving. Peake is practically never off the screen.

The film begins muted and quiet. Charlotte works in a faceless corporation and finds it difficult to socialise with her colleagues. Her apartment is all shiny surfaces and colourless decorations. The film charts her cold, mundane existence from a distanced perspective. This is a remote, strange world – some excellent early shots of London’s nighttime skyline look distinctly alien. Early on, it seems as if the film will be a brooding look at the loneliness and alienation of our contemporary corporate culture. However, as the film goes on, Charlotte’s compassion breaks through and the film ends up being a rather moving drama. One of the major successes of the film is that, despite the thriller trappings, good as they are, the film never loses sight of the fact that it is a film about Charlotte.

An entirely successful genre picture and a remarkably assured feature film debut from Steve Reeves, Keeping Rosy is taut, very well made and held together by a fantastic central performance and a plot that is never predictable – as long as you don’t watch the trailer.

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