Chris’s review published on Letterboxd:
Probably Mike Leigh’s bleakest and most disturbing film. A brave move to have your characters unlikeable.
Johnny (David Thewlis) is from Manchester and wandering the streets of London, with a cynical attitude, observing and conversing with those he meets, at a friend’s house, a fellow on the street who can’t find his girlfriend Maggie, a security guard in an empty building, an older woman, a waitress, a man hanging up posters.
Johnny can’t stop talking but the most important things about his past remain hidden. A lonely, self-destructive pseudo intellectual who appears smart at first encounter but his assumption about 666 on bar codes suggests he’s a conspiracy theorist. He seems to be a man running away from his problems.
The other male character Jeremy (Greg Cruttwell) is even more unlikeable, a yuppie-type landlord who derives pleasure from humiliating women.
I prefer Leigh's other work though I appreciate the performances and screenplay, you rarely find dialogue of this calbre in films anymore. Watch with subtitles for the most fulfilling experience.