London, 3.07am, in a horrible manky toilet, Joanne, a very young girl (Georgia Groome) is having the lipstick wiped from her teary face by Kelly, an older woman (Lorraine Stanley), whose bulldog features have taken a battering and who’s wearing a skirt so short she can only be a prostitute. Who are they? What’s going on? Who is the vile piece of shit (Johnny Harris) who is soon on their case? As the two females gobble fast food in the stall, then decide to take flight to Brighton on the coast, we are hungry for answers.
This relentlessly and properly unpleasant film is the feature debut by Paul Andrew Williams and from the evidence, it’s the work of a great film-maker. The performances are off the scale and turn roles that lesser actors would have made into cliche – the nasty piece of work, the tart with a heart, the little girl lost – into living breathing humans. Refreshingly, there is no Tarantino flippancy – the dialogue is all about moving the action on rather than suggesting the unexplored mental hinterlands of the main characters. OK, that’s not strictly true – there is a bit of “loquacious villain” stuff towards the end, when the entire film takes an odd lurch into the naff. As for the rest of it, quite brilliant.