Douglas “Arm” Armstrong (Cosmo Jarvis) is a dangerous and feared muscle man who currently works for the drug-dealing family known as “The Devers”. The Devers family approached Douglas during his boxing career and promised to give him a new life. More importantly, the family welcomed him as one of their own, even providing him with a roof over his head. When things go wrong for The Devers family, Douglas is the man sent to sort people out in a violent and abusive manner.
Daily, Douglas serves The Devers family with any requests they make. But Douglas is also dealing with some challenges regarding his ex-girlfriend and his only child. His son requires attendance at a particular school, given his current condition. For his son to attend this school, it will need both his son and his ex-girlfriend to move away, leaving Douglas behind. Not only that, the cost of this school is expensive and it’s hinted that if Douglas could assist financially, that would be ideal too.
But what sets this film in motion is when The Devers family ask something of Douglas that he has never done before. He is ordered to kill a man in cold blood. Can Douglas take a life? Which family will Douglas choose to support more? The Devers or his own?
The opening to this film is quite informative. We see Douglas attending to a matter on behalf of The Devers and Douglas handles it flawlessly. We also gain a narration from Douglas, who explains how he ended up working for this family and gives the audience an insight into his thinking process, such as why he accepted the job in the first place. While in some cases, this may sound cheesy, the film makes it obvious that the character has a lot on his mind as he begins to express his thoughts to the audience. Douglas, as a character, is also rather quiet. But when Douglas speaks, he owns the screen, and his facial expressions even when he isn’t talking are also gripping to see. The performance by Cosmo Jarvis was reliable, and I would also praise actor Barry Keoghan for his supporting role which was also convincing and believable.
Upon listening to the musical score during the opening act I thought it was a slightly odd choice for this Irish film, but I must confess, it didn’t take long for me to warm up to it. Each musical track gives a unique presence and assists with the gritty tones of the film.
I must also give praise to the filming style. The director has done a tremendous job at capturing the tension and many uncomfortable moments. Close up of characters facials and their reactions to tense moments is just one aspect I truly enjoyed here. As for gore and violence, thankfully, the film doesn’t hold back either.
It should also be praised and noted that this is a directorial debut by Nick Rowland. For a directional feature, it’s most certainly an outstanding achievement. Nick Rowland, as a director, has delivered a film where the tones are entirely dark and gritty with an unpredictable plot. There is most certainly a freshness and creativity in this film, unlike anything I’ve seen in cinema in quite some time.
Overall, as the credits rolled, I was left feeling extremely impressed with this film. It had great performances and a gritty plot, unlike anything I’ve seen in some time in the cinema. The filming styles are significant in delivering tension from the leading characters, and the story is unpredictable. For a directional debut, I’m impressed and naturally look forward to what else is to come from director Nick Rowland.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden