Directed by Lynne Ramsay, starring Samantha Morton, Kathleen McDermott.

Based on Alan Warner's allegedly unfilmable novel, 'Morvern Callar' is the vividly imagined follow up to Lynne Ramsay's critically acclaimed 'Ratcatcher'. It's a coming of age story with a twist that gradually unfolds in wintertime Scotland and sunny Spain, soundtracked by an eclectic mix of music that reflect the heroine's moods.

Morven Callar (Morton) wakes up on Christmas day to discover that her boyfriend has killed himself, leaving her a note and his just completed novel. Rather than do the logical thing and report her lover's death, the 21-year-old supermarket employee sends the novel to a publishing firm under her own name and, in an unnecessarily gruesome 'Shallow Grave'-like move, chops up the dead body and buries it in the mountains. Morvern buys escape in the form of a holiday for herself and best friend Lanna (McDermott) but doesn't find what she's looking for in the high-rise hedonism of southern Spain's resorts. Although Morvern's not quite sure where she wants to go, she has to keep moving before the grief that she carries with her as if it were another suitcase swallows her up.

Lynne Ramsay has a talent for producing unforgettable images - a man's blood-stained body sprawled by the flickering fairy lights of a Christmas tree, the blue glow of the computer screen as Morvern unhesitatingly changes the name on the manuscript, an ant crawling across her hand in the sunshine. The images are loosely held together by Morvern's own soundtrack. Where ever she goes, whatever she does, she listens to the compilation tape that her boyfriend left when he killed himself. 'Dedicated to the One I Love', as sung by the Mamas and Papas, insulates Morvern as she weaves through the Hades-like surroundings of a Spanish nightclub and she dissects her lover's body to the sound of the Velvet Underground's 'I'm Sticking With You'. 'Some Velvet Morning' - the Lee & Nancy version - also crops up along with Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Ween and Stereolab.

Samantha Morton's Morvern is instinctive and unfathomable. Initially numbed by grief, she gradually realises nothing is ever going to be the same again and is wholly ready to grab her big opportunity with both hands - no matter what she has to do. The film hinges on Morton's intensely real performance and she gives the role a ferocity and depth which remains with you long after the closing credits.

'Morvern Callar' is unpredictable, haunting and vividly, vividly alive - just like its heroine.

Caroline Hennessy