26th Jun2014

‘Keeping Rosy’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Maxine Peake, Blake Harrison, Elisa Lasowski, Christine Bottomley, Sam Hoare, Shina Shihoko Nagai, Tori Hart | Written by Mike Oughton, Steve Reeves | Directed by Steve Reeves


Independent films have a tough time getting exposure so when one turns up that really impresses you, it makes you want to shout from a mountaintop for people to take the time to see it.  Keeping Rosy is an example of a film that deserves to be noticed, but did you know it is released starting tomorrow, June 27th? I’m sure the answer is no; and that is a real weakness in the film industry in the UK at the moment.  Smaller movies tend to get lost in all the publicity for the “blockbusters.” Films like Keeping Rosy deserve to be seen and to be a success, in my review hopefully I’ll show why.

Charlotte (Peake) is a career driven women with eyes on a promotion.  When this fails to come to fruition and she finds herself redundant her life full of control starts to spiral into freefall.  When a confrontation with her cleaner has tragic results the chaos left behind pushes her to her limits.  Just when she thinks she has everything under control though and life can finally calm down, she becomes aware that her actions may have been seen by unknown eyes.

Keeping Rosy has a well thought out plot by Mike Oughton and Steve Reeves that at the start feels almost ordinary, but as it goes along is twisted in just the right places to not only complicate Charlotte’s life but also keep the audience guessing as to what the character will do and how she can regain the control she craves.  As usual there are moments where she could save herself just owning up to her actions and hoping for the best, but Charlotte being the control freak can’t do that.  It’s also impressive that just when you think things can’t get bleaker for her, they generally do.

With what appears to be a limited budget the film uses it well.  With a limited set of actors and few locations used, the actual backdrop of London gives the audience that feel of familiarity that adds to the realism of the story.  At a time where there is a type of class divide in an area like London with a culture of “haves and have-nots” Charlotte is a lone figure, building her career up so that she can hide in her ivory tower hiding away from the realities of the world.  These realities cause the tower to come crashing down, and suddenly she has to deal with the society that she seems so hard to work to escape.  The very fact her cleaner Mykala (Lasowski) represents that society somewhat and the actions Charlotte takes against her, show how one stupid movie can bring reality right back into play.  Reality is not all that bad though, as Charlotte’s sister Sarah (Bottomley) shows, symbolising the life that Charlotte ran away from and the one place she can go to for help.

Maxine Peake is an actor that I have nothing but praise for.  From Shameless to Silk she has shown performances on television that has seen her becoming one of the most praised British actors and it’s nice to see her get her teeth into a character like Charlotte.  She can play the hard-edged character well but is also able to put a humanity and vulnerability into the role that is needed in the end.  Charlotte is a character that some would play as totally unlikable, and many of her actions are arrogan and selfish, but Maxine Peake still makes you want her to pull herself out of the hole she’s created for herself.  In the same ways that Peake is impressive in the role, the same also has to be said about Blake Harrison, who we know from The Inbetweeners.  He is actually a revelation in, his performance as Roger the security guard is a natural performance but one that shows the malice behind the characters eyes, ready to erupt when needed.  This role is a move from the lovable idiot he played so well on television and it’s nice to see him show his acting prowess.

Keeping Rosy is an independent movie that has a United Kingdom release that will see it at Picturehouse in London June 27th initially and then from July 15th it can be seen at other Picturehouse venues around the country.  If you have a chance to go see it I would say that you should really take the time to, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.  Well-acted and well thought out it’s always nice to find a movie like this that deserves to be a sleeper hit.  With a surprising ending you don’t see coming till the moment before it comes, it manages to keep you thinking about it long before the credits stop rolling.

**** 4/5

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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