The destructive nature of that hollowed heart proves the link between Tom and the youths that begin to torment him after a misunderstanding on the street; the black is encroaching from without and within. Third act revelations might poignantly reveal how much closer the protagonist and the antagonists really are than we'd like to believe, but before that, the narrative struggles to balance soulful character study with hoodie horror. Gillen wrings every inch of pain from Tom's suffering - whether it's evidenced in a drug-fuelled stupor or the perfectly judged grimace. Amanda Mealing and Elodie Young both provide equally impressive support as Tom's ex-wife and current squeeze respectively, with the latter given the heavier lifting in a scene that could easily have careered into the overwrought.
Still isn't without those kinds of moments, though, and while the pitch swings from inaudible subtlety to melodrama, the malcontents run amok. When Tom questions at one point why he's being targeted, the retort is 'why not'. However, while the intimate portrayal of Tom's grief seeks to explore the contradictions of his psychology, the social commentary feels disproportionately simplistic. Inherent corruption and bad parenting paint too broad a picture. In one scene, Tom and his friend Ed (Jonathan Slinger) discuss the hope that children exude, but not enough is done to elucidate how that has been so irrevocably lost. This lack of complexity hampers much of what Still does well.
Ben Nicholson | @BRNicholson