An Oscar-winner for his documentary Man on Wire, British director James Marsh is building a strong reputation for dramas eschewing the obvious in terms of treatment and subject matter.
Having broached the U.S. Bible Belt and a grim Yorkshire circa 1980 (in The King and Red Riding), now it’s the mid-‘90s endgame of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, for this tense, humane insight into the terrifying lot of a Republican informant working for MI5. As the single mother facing a jail term unless she complies, Andrea Riseborough is utterly compelling, unable to give anything away to a family who have their own tragic reasons for joining the armed struggle, yet readily communicating to the audience the gnawing anguish of bitterly divided loyalties.
The eagle-eyed will notice that the locations aren’t 100% authentic, but the situations certainly are, handled with uncompromising astringency as anxiety mounts. Clive Owen provides an expert foil, showing steely form as Riseborough’s determined secret service handler. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)
Please note: The Monday 3rd September screening will start at 20.30, not 20.20 as advertised in the programme