Bob McCully’s review published on Letterboxd:
Another film from "the wall". This one's been on my radar for 10 years and I finally watched it. Wow.
With a very distinct tone of it's own, this cult classic by Mike Leigh pulls no punches. Opening on David Thewlis very strangely raping a woman in an alley, it's as if Leigh is warning the audience of the transgressions to come.
Thewlis plays Johnny, a very toxic and sharp-tongued character, who goes from his home of Manchester to London to visit Louise. He runs into her roommate Sophie first while waiting at her flat and then begins a very disturbing affair with her.
We're also introduced to another sociopathic character, Jeremy, who connects with these characters later at own.
Most of the film is really just different characters interacting with one another, as Johnny goes from meeting person to person on the street, and often it doesn't really lead to anything with finality or purpose.
It's also a very disturbing and vile film, a ton of sexual violence in particular that is hard to stomach. So proceed with caution.
The good news is it's often hilarious! And intentionally so - the dialogue is fantastic, so much razor sharp wit being spewed back and forth. It also helps that just about everyone is killing it at their performances, with David Thewlis delivering the best I've ever seen him do. Add to that a beautiful minimal and baroque score with heaving cello and strings making this whole thing one twisted dreary nightmare that just so happens to be a comedy.
Not sure I'm in a rush to watch this one again but with it being my first Mike Leigh film I definitely want to see more of his work.
Highly recommended but just bear in mind it's very dark and unsettling.