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“I’m a policeman, of course I’m insane,” growls PC Damien to his love interest and fellow copper Louise in British film GBH.

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This stark yet thought provoking film follows the troubled couple in the days before the London riots, exploring the anguish and inner turmoil of a generation.

This is not your average hooligan piece, nor is it a shiny ‘shoot-em-up’ action drama.

From the role of the police, to domestic abuse, to the recession, a lot is covered in 90 minutes. Perhaps obviously, GBH is not for children: this is for adults who can deal with big ‘in your face’ ideas combined with some fairly graphic violence.

GBH has a strong cast of actors, most notably the two protagonists. Nick Nevern’s solitary, sulky Damien is a flawed individual with whom the audience ultimately empathise while EastEnders actress Kellie Shirley’s Louise is a real vulnerable tough-nut.

Without giving too much away, one of her most dramatic scenes is quite simply a masterclass in how to emote an audience and makes for excellent, harrowing viewing. There is also brief cameo from legendary thespian Steven Berkoff as a very serious chief inspector with a penchant for sweeping things under the carpet, which will make any film buff smile.

There’s sometimes a danger that scripted speech in a realistic film can be forced and, at times, it is. Also, there are some awkward ‘chapter’ indicators – ‘two weeks before’ etc – that could have been removed. If an audience is able to digest such complex themes, they are probably ok with keeping up with the plot.

Overall, this is a stark, violent and haunting film that explores both a man and a city at war with themselves, set in one of the most turbulent times in our modern history. It is excellent and highly recommended.

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