Straightheads opens tomorrow (27 April) in the UK
Posted at 9:42 AM (PDT) on Thursday, April 26, 2007

Review by Matthew Turner

Three out of Five stars

The violence may be too strong for some but this is worth seeing for a terrific performance by Gillian Anderson.

The Good

Gillian Anderson is terrific as Alice, giving a performance that is by turns sexy (the nudity and sex scenes are surprisingly well handled), heartbreaking and terrifying. We can sense the anger boiling within her, but that still doesn't prepare you for the shocking violence she is capable of. Dyer is good too, dialling down the Cockney wide-boy act and trailing in Anderson's wake like a helpless puppy.

In addition, there's suitably creepy support from Ralph Brown, Anthony Calf and Steven Robertson as the three attackers, even if it seems somewhat implausible that the police were unable to find them.

The Bad

The film's biggest problem is that it tries to justify the horror of the revenge by showing you the initial attack not once, but twice, the second time in unnecessary detail. By doing so, it tips too far into exploitative territory and lessens the impact of the point it's trying to make.

On top of that, there's an uncomfortable air of adolescent male fantasy to the violent climax that doesn't quite convince. That said, as Danny Dyer revenge thrillers go, this is a lot better than Outlaw.

Worth seeing?

In short, if you can handle the shocking violence, then this a promising directorial debut that is definitely worth seeing for Anderson's performance.