ItisMillett’s review published on Letterboxd:
I've always had a soft spot for films about the working class within Britain. It always rubs me the wrong way that outside of the UK, there is this misconception that most British are very posh and all sound like they are directly related to the queen.
That's why I champion Ken Loach and Shane Meadows for bringing so much attention to the areas in the UK that many politicians and to a certain extent Hollywood itself want nothing to do with.
Richard Billingham's directorial debut certainly feels and looks like the bleak reality that it is conveying to the audience. I think Billingham's experience as a photographer really shines through here, presenting a beauty and normalcy to such a grim lifestyle in a way that I really appreciate. Some of the stories that he conveys are heartbreaking, disturbing and occasionally heartwarming. The lower class experience is rarely a simple one and Billingham does a great job on this front.
Where the film is held back is on a character perspective. Most character's feel unfinished, nearly developed archetypes but not enough material is given to the actors to create fully fledged characters that create a strong sense of understanding. They feel like they are supposed to represent something more than being a character in their own right, but not enough development is given to them to truly achieve this.
Its a shame really because I would have loved this film if the characters were a little more developed; it really could have been one my favourites of the year if that was the case.