Anna Welles is a lonely woman in late middle age, separated from her husband Simon; she works at Peter Jones West End department store as a salesperson and spends her leisure time attending speed-dating events. It's at one of these occasions she meets George Stone and returns with him to his flat in the Barbican. But the evening takes a turn for the worse when Stone assaults her and she, in an attempt to save herself, batters him to death with a heavy sculpture. After a swift departure from the flats she realises that she has left her umbrella in the lift and returns to the building to retrieve it. Coincidently she runs into DCI Bernie Reid who is investigating the murder. It's this meeting that triggers the Detectives fascination with this vulnerable women that eventually leads to his involvement with a murder suspect.
This British/German co-production, which premiered at 2012 Berlin Film Festival is the directorial feature film debut of Barnaby Southgate who is best known for working in television on such series as Footballers Wives, Bad Girls and Waterloo Road. This modern film noir was also written by Southgate, which he adapted from the New York based novel of the same name by Elsa Lewin. Now set mainly in a timeless London, which is given a similar disaffecting treatment that can be found in Eran Creevy’s Welcome to the Punch (2012). It stars the director’s mother, Charlotte Rampling as the femme fatale Anna with Gabriel Byrne as Bernie Reid. It’s a psychological thriller about two lonely alienated characters, an isolated policemen and a mysterious women, who, we are led to believe, hide secret dark pasts.
Influenced by the noir relationships found in the French cinema of the 1970’s and 80’s the movies strength is in the elegance of Charlotte Ramplings performance and the atmospheric cinematography of Ben Smithard (My Week with Marilyn 2011, The Damned United 2009) but the problem with the film is that the narrative is obscure, it involves a tragic incident in Anna’s life that’s never fully explained, in fact its rather muddled ending spoils what could have been an excellent underlying study of the fear of solitary old age.