Nil By Mouth, which was a selection of the 1997 Cannes Film Festival and even supplied a best-actress win for Kathy Burke, is not what anyone would call narrative-driven. Its chief merit is as a showcase for some remarkable acting talent – its principal characters absolutely believable in their rage, desperation, and ultimately their fondness and warmer side. Its lavish disregard for plot, however, makes this a difficult film to sit through, as it cannot be said to have a real dramatic arc and, what’s more, those behaviours which are exhibited are perfectly predictable. This latter deficiency is on display particularly in the opening half-hour, in which Oldman wants to impress on every member of the audience the ambiance of the South London district of his childhood. Focusing particularly on Raymond (Ray Winstone), who has no regular job but apparently acquires his pound sterling’s through a network of scams, Oldman opens with a family scene as the locals gather in a downscale night club to be entertained by a comedian imparting bawdy jokes to a crowd that alternately pays him an ear and tell jokes of their own to their family circles. Ray, his wife Valerie (Kathy Burke), and Valerie’s brother-in-law Billy (Charlie Creed-Miles) smoke up a storm, drink Smirnoff’s vodka, and when the men sit around without their women they discuss their experiences in strip joints with all the enthusiasm of adolescents who have just acquired their legal ID’s and sample the fare of the adult world.
We learn quite a bit about these people but little or nothing about the framework that has mired them in their futile straits. Ray is the most violent member of the group, one who looks for excuses to swing his fists. In the picture’s most appalling moments, he punches and kicks his wife, accusing her with no evidence whatever of having an affair with a neighbour. When Valerie lands in the hospital, she follows the neighbourhood code – mum’s the word – and claims to have been knocked over by a hit-and-run driver. In another episode of mayhem, Ray virtually breaks the nose of his brother-in-law, Billy, whom he accuses of robbing his cache of drugs. In one unexpected setting, Ray’s mother-in-law Janet (Laila Morse) looks without disgust on his snorting of drugs, even providing money to maintain the wastrel’s habit – anything to keep the family together, particularly since her daughter is pregnant. —Britmovie.co.uk
Whether playing a punk rocker, an assassin, a war vet, or a ghoul, Gary Oldman has consistently amazed viewers with his ability to completely disappear into his roles. Though capable of portraying almost any type of character, Oldman has put his stamp on those of the twisted villain/morally ambiguous weirdo variety, earning renown for his interpretations of the darker side of human nature.
Born Leonard Gary Oldman in New Cross, South London, on March 21, 1958, Oldman was raised by his mother and two sisters after his father, an alcoholic welder, left them when Oldman was seven. Nine years later, Oldman left high school to work in a sporting goods store; in his spare time, he studied literature and later acting under the tutelage of Roger Williams. He went on to act with the Greenwich Young People’s Theatre and, after attending drama school on a scholarship, worked with the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow. Oldman next worked in London’s West End, where, in 1985, he won a Best Actor… read more
"'You can have egg or bacon.'' He went, 'You're having a fucking laugh, cunt.''' "It's egg and bacon." "Yeah." "It's always been." "Right." "Like salt and pepper, knife and fork." "Horse and cart." "Fucking all that bollocks."