Sean’s review published on Letterboxd:
Now here's a film that understands the tragedy/comedy of life. When I saw Killer Joe, I thought that its comedy was a dark as could be possible to consume. But here's something that equals that, but with an entirely different mentality. That film almost delighted in punishing its characters, it presented all their stupidity for us to laugh at, but here it's a case of recognising that the comedy is often present in the most dire situations. When Johnny is wandering around London, he's in some odyssey of contempt and every step he takes through these streets is painful to watch because every time it looks like it's hurting him. In every way possible. But he encounters many a colourful characters, and what we get is often funny, in a pathetic sense. I didn't really register the comedy until the end, when even after all the accumulated shit each character had suffered through, there wasn't any artificial reward for them. The world didn't suddenly recognise all of their pain and help them, but it didn't ignore them either. Life just goes on in it's on semi-indifferent way. David Thewlis is my-god-extraordinary, broken and lurching along, with pain and amusement in his eyes at every moment. His character, Johnny, could be part of the Holden Caulfield support group - he's unloading scathing cynicism at every opportunity, disconnecting himself from everything, but he has terribly wounded ideals inside that he's trying to bandage with loathing. Johnny does disgusting things, but credit to Thewlis for allowing us to be so understanding of him at all times. Lesley Sharp and Katrin Cartlidge are also fantastic, both conveying wonderfully struggling women in a misogynistic world who are not just victims or 'doormats' as some critics labelled them but individual people who have their own ambitions in life but are pushed out of reach of them. This is my first Mike Leigh film, and I ready for more. The meticulous creative process for his films is evident, but not in an artificial way. These people are so well drawn and alive, it never feels like they're being pulled along by a script.