Directed by Neil Hunter and Tom Hunsinger, starring Bill Nighy, Douglas Henshall, Tom Hollander, Clémentine Célarié, Sukie Smith and Josephine Butler.
Written and directed by Neil Hunter and Tom Hunsinger, 'Lawless Heart’ is a gentle - and very British - meditation on the nature of regret, loss and choices in life. Set in the picturesque Essex seaside village of Maldon, the film takes a look at the aftermath of one man's death from different perspectives. The funeral of gay restaurateur Stuart is the point at which three men's stories start: his brother-in-law Dan (Nighy), teetering on the edge of a mid-life crisis; bereaved lover Nick (a sensitive performance from Hollander) and his cousin Tim (Henshall), just returned from eight years of globetrotting.
Although he only appears in photos and Super 8 footage, Stuart still dominates proceedings. His death, especially in light of his 'go-for-it' attitude to life, makes Dan, Nick and Tim question things that they have hitherto taken for granted - marriage, sexuality, relationships - and make some surprising decisions. Married middle-aged Dan contemplates an affair with an enigmatic French woman. Nick finds himself unexpectedly drawn to a young woman while wrestling with fears of betraying Stuart. And Tim, having been incommunicado for the best part of a decade, is suddenly thinking about settling down at home - but doesn't realise that he is competing with his step-brother David for the affections of his new girlfriend.
The three sections are filmed in very different styles to emphasise the shifts in perspective - restless cameras for Dan's indecision, more static shots to show Nick's contemplative state of mind. Credit for this is due to Sean Bobbitt who was also responsible for the visuals on Michael Winterbottom's 'Wonderland', another intelligent and moving British film about the intricacies of human relationships.
Touching but never too sentimental, 'Lawless Heart' is a beautifully crafted and well observed drama, with occasional wry touches of comedy. An unexpected treasure.