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Nil by mouth

Threat advisory: Severe - Severe risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Gary Oldman makes a powerful and personal directorial debut from his own screenplay with its insight into the damaging realities of an existence ravaged by alcohol and abuse.

Ray (Ray Winstone) has no job and spends his days and nights drinking with friends, visiting strip clubs and indulging in occasional petty crime and violence. Val (Kathy Burke) is his wife and the mother of his child with another on the way.

When Ray returns home to Val at night, his rages are just a way of life. That is until Val's junkie brother (Charlie Creed Miles) steals Ray's favourite painting from his home. Ray's anger flies out of control with tragic consequences for those that he loves most.

Kathy was awarded the best actress award at Cannes 1997. The film also won BAFTA awards for best original screenplay and the Alexandra Korda award for outstanding British film.

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

One of the most painful and difficult films I have ever seen.

The subject matter is an awful, awful thing to observe (coming from a loving and supportive family as I do): grinding poverty, crushing depression, unending pain and universal addiction. Horrendous violence, lost souls.

The acting is as brilliant as the dialogue, the direction as brilliant as the editing. There is only one scene I felt was extraneous - when bad boy Ray reveals that his dad didn't love him - as we understand this already but perhaps Gary has a personal motive, having dedicated the film to his own father. You'll have to check with Gazza about that one.

The grit and dirt in which this working class family must live, trapped as they are by circumstance and poverty, stayed with me for days. Seeking, like you do, a relaxed and comfortable lifestyle, I was very unrelaxed and very uncomfortable with the experience of this film. It's about as much fun as being a waterfront worker for Patrick's Stevedores.

Needless to say, this is a film that lovers of full-on reality drama must see; Gazza fans will be sliding off their seats in delight. Tissues should be taken as a precaution and don't see it alone.

Security censorship classification

R 18+

Surveillance time

128 minutes (2:08 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 21 May 1998

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