Following Charlotte, a London business woman whose life has become completely defined by her career, Keeping Rosy is a thoroughly modern, British exploration of a woman on the verge of absolute destruction, as her world comes tumbling down leading her to an act of violence that will change her life forever, forcing her to confront the worst and best of herself.

Visually, Keeping Rosy is a slickly composed play of tone, reality and suggestion. Director Steve Reeves utilises a clean crisp style that reflects the ordered nature of Charlotte’s life, sterile and artificial. The verisimilitude of the imagery at once brings it to life, but also accentuates the sense of the city as anonymous, as a chasm where the narrow focus of modern life impinges on the sense of community and a social unification.

Indeed, in the opening sequences, Charlotte is almost a Kafka-esque figure, without autonomy, as she moves through the morning routine, becoming a hard weapon of business, placing her hair just so, but ultimately, sitting alone at her table for a coffee with a vacant stare.

It’s a deceptive image that both introduces her isolation and vulnerability, but also suggests something colder, something dark waiting to happen. In particular, Reeves uses the images of the developing city, a skyline dominated by cranes and buildings in the process of either demolition or creation, among the glittering modern skyscrapers, be as a visual motif for the heavy construction of Charlotte’s world, the dream she has been so focused on constructing for herself and the harsh reality that it is all temporary, that these structures are ultimately ephemeral and perishable, and yet there is always something new ready to be begin again. Desperation, Death, Hope and life all conveyed throughout in exquisite simplicity.

Maxine Peake excels as Charlotte, filling the character with tremendous pathos, as the façade she has crafted cracks in the face of betrayal and she has to open up to the emotions and human relationships she has suppressed. As a colleague hands her baby to Charlotte, the look of both shocking fear and warm desire that passes across her features and burns with her eyes is the perfect example of Peake’s extraordinary talent in crafting real, multi-dimensional people, as they truly are rather than a caricature.

Indeed, when her world begins to crumble and Charlotte succumbs to her vile frustrations, the transformation is startling, as she lets all her buried emotions out in the most negative way, becoming both sinister and pitiful. Her journey through desperation and guilt to redemption and sacrifice, fuelled by the overwhelming human drives of conceit, self-preservation and love, is displayed with depth and a muted truth – it’s a relentless gripping performance.

Keeping Rosy is a story of discovery, in all its myriad complexity. It’s the story of how mirror can be so easily cracked, and through that looking glass, the distortion reveals more about the truth of the self than the image perceived. At once haunting, thought provoking and absolutely honest, Keeping Rosy is a British thriller that lingers long in the mind and works its way into your heart.

Verdict:[rating=4]

About The Author

Matthew Hammond is a full time cinephile, specializing in cult, art house and 1980’s cinema. While film is his overwhelming passion, Matthew has been known to enjoy comic books, Sherlock Holmes stories and a good film related T-shirt. Feel free to email me with any questions or comments: mattpaul61@o2.co.uk