British filmmaker Andrea Arnold made her feature debut with Red Road (2006), an eerie, low-budget suspense story about a woman stalking, seducing, and finally exacting her revenge against the man who ruined her life. This excellent follow-up, set against a similar landscape of shabby council estates, unfolds as a conventional coming-of-age story, yet Arnold hasn't altered her persuasively jaundiced view of men, who seem as pitifully helpless against their horndog urges as the women foolish enough to care for them. The heroine (Katie Jarvis) is a moody, restless 15-year-old without much in the way of role models: her father is long gone and her mother (Kierston Wareing) is a clueless party girl. The only person who seems to understand the angry teen is mom's new boyfriend (Michael Fassbender of Hunger), though their friendship oscillates between intimate and vaguely creepy. 123 min.
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