On the surface, a post-modern transposition of a typical American crime drama onto the atypical landscape of England's bleak industrial north. The grit & grime of the place infects & infuses the standard film noir conventions with a level of violence & depravity rarely seen. However, beneath this surface, the film offers an insightful study on the futility of vengeance; as death stalks its characters, like a shadow.
One of the finest British films I've seen. Stylization in Brit movies is usually so overdetermined; here, the high angles, fragmenting montage, and expressive compositions have a sense of whimsy and exuberance--and still it's all of a piece. Early New Wave playfulness meets dour 70s naturalism.