There’s a Hollywood tradition of the ‘returning vet’ film (a testament to the number of wars America gets into) and these are often, understandably, noir in nature. This British contribution eschews expressionist visual style in favour of handheld realism and a clear social milieux in the North East of England. Add the fact that the vet is female and you can see that writer-director Brian Welsh is doing something interesting.
He also gets excellent performances, crucial in ‘realist’ films; especially from Joanne Froggatt in the lead. Her trauma relates to a child and badly affects her relationship with her young daughter. This maternal specificity takes a little away from dealing with a woman’s experience: why does it have to be through the role of a mother that we investigate a woman’s psychology? But that’s a minor quibble.
I didn’t like the ending either but don’t let that put you off seeking out this heartfelt, and telling, condemnation of war. How many children of the politicians manufacturing these wars have served?