Newest Reviews
We Need to Do Something
Bigfoot Hunters
Armitage III: Polymatrix
Girls Nite Out
Five Women for the Killer
Dolce Vita, La
I Am Belmaya
Lodger, The
Show, The
Beta Test, The
Medium, The
John and the Hole
Survivalist, The
Ape Woman, The
Black Widow
Cop Secret
Dark Eyes of London, The
Fay Grim
Night of the Animated Dead
Freshman Year
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Anne at 13,000 Ft.
Even Mice Belong in Heaven
Death Screams
Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr.
East, The
Green Knight, The
Beasts of No Nation
One of Our Aircraft is Missing
Picture Stories
Newest Articles
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
  Nil By Mouth It's A Shame About Ray
Year: 1997
Director: Gary Oldman
Stars: Ray Winstone, Kathy Burke, Charlie Creed-Miles, Laila Morse, Edna Doré, Chrissie Cotterill, Jon Morrison, Jamie Foreman, Steve Sweeney, Terry Rowley, Sam Miller, Leah Fitzgerald, Gerry Bromfield, Neil Maskell, Sid Golder
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: South Londoner Ray (Ray Winstone) is married to Valerie (Kathy Burke), and they have one little girl with another baby on the way. For entertainment they attend the local working men's club, but Ray tends to leave Val on her own to sit with her mother and female friends while he sits elsewhere so he can chat and drink with his mates. And make no mistake, he likes to drink, and he likes a laugh just as anyone does, and if there are drugs about he won't say no to them either. Val's brother Billy (Charlie Creed-Miles) has secured some for him, but there's another aspect to Ray that his family will be reminded of all too vividly: he is a violent man, too.

After Trainspotting was the hit it was in Britain, there was a a strain of comedy that sought to replicate it's hard-edged laughs, often with severely offputting results. Nil By Mouth starts like one of those, with the characters swapping jokey anecdotes about dodgy dealings, but having a chuckle is not what Gary Oldman, the actor making his directorial debut here, is interested in. And after a while, you come to realise the menace in Ray's personality and nothing about this film seems funny at all. In addition to directing, Oldman wrote the script and co-produced, and the impression is that this world he depicts he knew well.

In fact, one of the most disturbing parts is that right at the end, after all the violence and abuse, Oldman dedicates the film to his father which in light of what this says about fathers makes you worry for the star's upbringing. There is an authenticity about the situations here that is hard to shake even once the film is over, and that includes the world record attempt at cramming in as many swear words into the dialogue as possible. But if that shocks you, then it's nothing compared to the atmosphere of lives able to go horribly wrong in a moment.

Billy is a heroin addict, and his actions show how one crime can cause another, however unintentionally. He steals Ray's stash, then when Ray beats him up over it and sends him packing from his flat, the boy finds he needs more cash to feed his habit and as he has a key, he lets himself in while everyone else is out and helps himself to anything he think he can make a profit on. It's this which sends the already volatile Ray flying off the handle which culminates in his harrowing beating of his wife when he drives himself into a drunken and jealous rage (she was playing pool with another man - nothing more than that).

For many, the fact that Val is still with Ray at the end of the story will beggar belief, but the point is that she has nowhere else to go, and her daughter needs a father. It's the children we see being affected by the behaviour of their parents, and the loss of the baby thanks to Ray's brutality is the extreme consequence of that. But Oldman is keen to dig beneath the surface of these tragedies, and ends up blaming a cycle of violence that passes from father to son; Ray is given a monologue where he observes the ill treatment and lack of any love or encouragement he received from his own father, not that this excuses him. If Oldman has a flaw as a director it's that he overindulges is actors, with too many earthy scenes of the characters fighting against their inarticulacy, but when the standard of performing is so high, as it is here, you're willing to forgive him. It's just that you may not be keen to watch this twice (or even once).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 3074 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt


Last Updated: