Out Of Depth

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Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger

Starring: Sean Maguire, Rita Tushingham, Danny Midwinter, Josephine Butler

Director: Simon Marshall

Based on a true story, OUT OF DEPTH follows the story of a young graphic designer Paul Nixon (Sean Maguire). Brought up on a tough council estate in south London, Paul has left the estate and pursued a career in design working for a fashionable advertising agency in London’s West End.

After taking his mother to dinner with his art dealer girlfriend he discovers that his mother has been badly beaten-up by a customer at the pub where she works. After finding the police to be no help he decides to take matters into his own hands and seek revenge, but is advised by his long time childhood friend that he would stand no chance in a confrontation with this violent individual. Instead he is put in touch with an underworld enforcer Pussy Cat Lenny (Nicholas Ball), who happens to be the owner of a seedy strip/hostess bar.

Lenny finally agrees to beat-up Paul’s mother’s attacker for no fee but instead kills the attacker not for Paul but on behalf of an underworld mobster. Paul is now implicated in a killing and before he knows it, he is forced to repay the ‘favour’ to Lenny by flying out to Spain on a job which turns out to be smuggling drugs back into the country.

OUT OF DEPTH is quite a nasty little film involving the south London gangsters of the nineties. There are some fairly distasteful scenes to say the least and the audience really gets the sense of never being quite sure what is going to happen next or what the motivations are, which must have been to some extent how Paul found himself. A lot more happens along the way and at all turns Paul seems to find himself out of his depth. There are no big peaks in this film, no build-up to one big event, just constantly bad things working around every corner.

OUT OF DEPTH is a well made film but it’s not a great movie. This is probably because it hasn’t gone out of it’s way to be enjoyable – there are no heroes in this story, just victims and villains. The director/writer Simon Marshall apparently grew up with Paul in the same neighbourhood but has purposely stuck to the actual events. This is also Simon Marshall’s first feature film although his lack of experience is certainly not apparent.

Quite depressingly although all of the events are known to the police the case is still open.

Although I personally didn’t like the film very much, this is a story that should be told but is nasty and upsetting to watch. It’s also worth mentioning an excellent performance by Nicholas Ball as Pussy Cat Lenny, in my opinion an under-used and under-rated actor.

3 out of 6 stars