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RED ROAD

Starring: Kate Dickie, Tony Curran Martin Compston and Nathalie Press
Director: Andrea Arnold, Lonne Scherfig and Anders Jensen
Rated: MA15+

RED ROAD is one that you definitely have to stay until the end if you are to appreciate the film as a whole.

Not that many audiences will not be tempted to give up during the first half and even beyond.

Red Road is in Glasgow and has a huge block of flats which are continuously under surveillance, as is the whole area, by the city security cameras.

Jackie watches the screens – and we watch Jackie watching the screens. She gets the chance sometimes to change screens!

We are being asked to share the pace of her work, the boredom, the curiosity, the alerts. (It is very easy during our surveillance of Jackie to let our minds wander – far away.)

She sees a married man for a brief rendezvous every fortnight. She goes to a family wedding. She lives quietly and alone.

For a lot of the film, she is curious about a paroled prisoner, watches him, follows him, even goes to a party at his flat.

We have gathered that Jackie has been married, then, that her husband and daughter have died. And the penny drops.

Once it drops the film becomes far more interesting, as we try to guess what Jackie is going to do.

When she does it, we are forcibly made voyeurs, at length, to her vengeance.

But there seems to be no catharsis. But, if we wait longer, this does come and brings the film to a satisfactory conclusion (except for the missable end credits song, ‘Love can tear us apart’).

So, it does come together, slow pace, intense close-up on Jackie, the enigmas, mystery and all.

Kate is played with some self-sacrificing intensity by Kate Dickie.

Red Road is a first feature from Andrea Arnold (Oscar winner, 2005 for Best live action short film).

It is the first in a trilogy, backed by Zentropa (with memories of Dogme) where the same characters will appear in three films.

The other directors are Lonne Scherfig (Italian for Beginners) and Anders Thomas Jensen.

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