Stephen Graham (This Is England)
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Pompeii)
Maxine Peake (The Theory of Everything)
David O’Hara (Braveheart)
Danny (Graham) is a hustler who is about to be punished by a criminal gang-leader when he is rescued by a huge man with learning difficulties named Joseph (Akinnuoye-Agbaje). Danny and Joseph are friends, but Danny falls deeper into drugs, debt and failed money-making schemes. Eventually he persuades Joseph to begin fighting for prize money, in an effort to dissuade his criminal-world accomplices and bosses from exacting their revenge for his unpaid debts.Danny falls for a prostitute he has started to see and Joseph starts to see a mentally challenged woman who he saves from a group of teenage bullies and starts to drag himself away from the money-making fights that Danny needs him to participate in. Danny begins to question his own motives as he sees the physical damage being done to Joseph. Danny plans to escape to Ireland with Joseph, aided by his girlfriend Lisa. Unfortunately, Danny is captured and tortured to reveal Joseph’s whereabouts. Ultimately Joseph and Lisa find the location Danny is being held at and after a showdown between Joseph and one of the boss’s prize fighters and then the boss, the trio escape in a camper van, pick up Joseph’s girlfriend (Maxine Peake) and cross via ferry to Ireland as planned.The final scene shows Danny seeing Joseph genuinely happy outside playing in the snow being brought cups of tea by Lisa, through the window of the camper van where he is laid up from his injuries, then smiles, starts to bleed heavily from his mouth due to the internal injuries sustained under torture and passes away seemingly at peace.The film aims to be a simple ‘down on his luck ne’er do well trying to get out of bother’ tale, that ends up being a dark look in to how callous and predatory human instincts can be. For all this, it remains a fairly well written, ambitious film with some reliably steely lead performances from the two lead stars. It’s dogged determination to make the viewer feel a bit uncomfortable really is a blessing and a curse.