With an eye for the stylish and stylised, Krishnan has crafted a moving and captivating drama.
Continuing the tradition of downbeat Brit grit in all its grimy, gloomy glory, debut director Tinge Krishnan’s small but powerful dissection of family, addiction, love and loss, kicks off with a potent and disquieting sense of foreboding which sets alarm bells ringing from the get go.
Indeed, from the minute you see Eddie Marsan’s distraught and distorted mug, you know things are going to get much worse before they get any better for these characters.
Marsan is Frank, an ex-soldier haunted by a violent past. He lives a life of solitude in his small tower block London flat, pounding the booze in a bid to suppress the painful flashbacks of dark days gone by. On a routine trip to the off-license, Frank has a brief run-in with 16-year-old runaway Lynette (Candese Reid), whom he offers to take under his wing.
Initially reluctant and sceptical of the stranger’s generosity, the feisty Lynette eventually accepts Frank’s kindness and the two tentatively form an unlikely bond. However, when Lynette’s drug-pushing boyfriend turns up on the doorstep, Frank and Lynette’s lives once again begin to spiral out of control.
Meanwhile, a seemingly unconnected single mother/business woman, Christine (Romola Garai), is dealing with problems of her own, which include a drug addiction and an affair with a married man.
The inevitable downward plunge for all involved provides a fairly depressing experience, but Krishnan keeps us on our toes and teases with a number of narrative diversions that keep you guessing which direction Junkhearts will take.
Bizarrely, though, the incongruous Romola Garai portions of the film (eventually whittled down to pretty much nothing) lead to an abrupt, jarringly optimistic finale that doesn’t sit comfortably with the rest of it.
Still, with an eye for the stylish and stylised, Krishnan has crafted a moving and captivating drama and her incredible ensemble cast brings this tale of loneliness and loss to life.
More doom and gloom on the streets of London.
Depressing, uncompromising, absorbing and moving.
A gritty, self-assured directorial debut.