Nil by Mouth | Chicago Reader

Nil by Mouth

It's not hard to feel for the members of a loosely extended family grappling with chemical addiction and domestic violence in south London. But then the most vicious character delivers a stereotypical, title-explaining monologue in which he blames his behavior on his father, and it's clear that writer-director Gary Oldman doesn't have much more to say. Though he shapes persuasive performances, he seems to believe that realism—if that's what this is—is an end in itself. Jump cuts that make the fractured monologues of a deranged character expressive, close-ups that depict a drug addict's resourcefully improvised works, and songs whose lyrics convey pat ironies don't make the story potent. With Ray Winstone, Kathy Burke, and Charlie Creed-Miles; the score is by Eric Clapton.


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