Sink

Review by Gus Edgar-Chan @edgarreviews

Directed by

Mark Gillis

Starring

Ian Hogg Marlene Sidaway Martin Herdman

Anticipation.

Looks like a less manipulative I, Daniel Blake.

Enjoyment.

A swooning surprise with enough charm to smooth out the wrinkles.

In Retrospect.

Fleetingly lovely, but it won’t sink in.

There’s plenty of heart in Mark Gillis’ micro-budget survey of the UK’s job market crisis.

The foreboding outline of London’s corporate skyscrapers looms large in writer/director Mark Gillis’ feature debut, Sink. To Martin Herdman’s Micky, an amiable bloke relying on a string of zero-hour contracts to get by, it serves as a constant reminder of the stability he lacks. Yet this film is not a sickly dose of miserablism as its premise may suggest.

Sink is the kind of film that non-UK audiences will need subtitles for, where ‘bollocks’ is uttered more than ‘hello’ and where a ‘Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals’ cookbook is used to pound down a faulty potato chipper. In short, it makes you proud to be British.

It’s also the kind of film that rarely sees the light of day. Made on a shoestring budget, with its entire crew agreeing to deferred fees, it’s only the team’s dedication (and Mark Rylance stepping in as associate producer) that has allowed Sink to swim. The commitment shows. It may be scruffy around the edges, but this tale of an honest man resorting to a life of crime after succumbing to the pressures of dead-end jobs, his dementia-riddled father and his son’s drug addiction is a consistently charming affair. As that harrowing synopsis may let on, it’s charming to a fault.

It’s refreshing to watch a film about the UK’s current job market crisis that refuses to resort to manufactured martyrdom (hey there, Ken Loach). What’s less welcome is an affable tone that constantly strips the pathos of its punch. It’s difficult to feel the strain that Micky is under when his lamentations are constantly bookended by wry one-liners, as if he’s unfazed himself. As a result, the film functions much better as a breezy slice-of-life dramedy than a vital current affairs polemic.

Not to dismiss its heft. The father’s debilitating illness is a particularly poignant strand, and the final stretch’s jolt into thriller territory is expertly weighted, mustering moments of blistering (and blisteringly unexpected) tension. Sink may be spotty and tonally imbalanced at times, but its characters feel lived-in and at home in a version of council estate London that’s safe from studio glamorisation. Gillis has gifted a voice to those caught in a rut while the world moves on without them. They use it well.

Published 12 Oct 2018

Tags: Mark Gillis

Anticipation.

Looks like a less manipulative I, Daniel Blake.

Enjoyment.

A swooning surprise with enough charm to smooth out the wrinkles.

In Retrospect.

Fleetingly lovely, but it won’t sink in.

Read More

Ken Loach is right – British film and TV has become too cosy and conservative

By Caspar Salmon

The director was correct in chastising the “fake nostalgia” of period dramas.

I, Daniel Blake

By David Jenkins

Ken Loach’s latest polemic has a vital message that’s diluted by some heavy-handed direction.

review

Is Nil by Mouth the bleakest kitchen-sink drama ever made?

By William Carroll

With his directorial debut, Gary Oldman offers a deeply affecting study of addiction and domestic abuse.

What are you looking for?

Little White Lies Logo

About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.

Editorial

Design