One of the highlights of the Raindance festival programme was the Gala Screening for Keeping Rosy. Director Stephen Reeves, producer Richard Holmes and Blake Harrison from the cast were in attendance for a Q&A after the show. The event nearly sold out (there were 4 seats left when I went in) and judging by the enthusiastic applause a good time was had by all. It’s hard not to see why.
Keeping Rosy is the story of Charlotte (Maxine Peake). She lives for her career and has built a successful career in a media agency. Now, building your entire life around one single thing is all very well, but it comes with an inherent flaw. If something goes wrong with the “single thing” that is the foundation of your existence, your whole life literally comes tumbling down around your ears. And sure enough, one day, Charlotte finds out that she has been stabbed in the back in the boardroom. Incensed, she storms back home and proceeds to take her anger out on the first people she runs into. Charlotte’s loss of control is going to bring her face to face with some rather shady characters and threaten her very existence.
I just have come out and say this very bluntly. “Keeping Rosy” is by far and away the best thriller I have seen in a very, very long time. There is a plot twist a minute, delivered with perfect timing from start to the stunning finale. This strong writing is supported by stellar acting from the leading cast. Maxine Peake shows us with stunning clarity how thoughts and emotions Charlotte had put off for years – maybe, in her mind, forever – bubble slowly rising to the surface as she plunges, way over her head, into a dangerous world. The part is a difficult one to play on quite a few levels, not least because the first forty minutes of the film has very little in the way of dialogue and there is a whole period, circa 20 minutes, we are alone with Charlotte, with no dialogue whatsoever. But if the tempo seems to drop, the tension mounts more and more. Peak and director Stephen Reeves play their cards very close to their chests, and Charlotte’s silence contributes to the fact that whatever she decides to do next, it is a perfect surprise. But that is the real beauty of this film – it just keeps hitting one with curveballs you never saw coming.
Another performance that is definitely more than worth mentioning is the character of Roger who is played by Blake Harrison of The Inbetweeners fame. ( I can’t divulge who he is and how he fits into the story without revealing major plot points so I shall leave the curious viewer to discover who he is by viewing the film.) If Blake’s name made you think he was the comic relief in this dark tale you are very, very sadly mistaken. Far from being funny, Roger is a chancer who catches Charlotte out as she flounders around trying to get her life back into order and he decides there might just be something in it for him. He is ruthless and, we suspect, very dangerous indeed. It makes me very excited to see what Blake does next – it’s clear we have a good couple of shows coming.
Producer Richard Holmes gave the good news that Keeping Rosy was coming out on a small cinema release through Picturehouse in the not too distant future. I would advise any thriller fans to definitely look out for it.