Claustrophobic and emotionally tolling, Andrea Arnold's feature debut about a thirtysomething single woman who spends her days watching the decaying inner-city area of Glasgow, via city-wide police surveillance cameras, and her nights in monochrome loneliness, is a mysterious thesis on obsessiveness and voyeurism.
Jackie (played with a gaunt sense of immediacy by Kate Dickie) becomes involved directly with those she is watching, as she is drawn nearer and nearer to a shadowy figure she spies one night on her CCTV monitor. Who this man is and what his relationship is to Jackie is kept a guarded secret until just the right moment is landed upon to blurt it out. Enigmatic indeed, Arnold's film - and Dickie's performance - is a puzzle that slowly, methodically unravels itself to reveal layer upon layer of hidden meanings and denied back stories.
Deliberately dingy in its appearance, Red Road (named after the project-esque apartment building home of the aforementioned mystery man) is the most abstruse of films and not for the light-hearted cinema crowd. Full of under-belly characters (the awfully good Nathalie Press, who starred in Arnold's Oscar winning short, Wasp, is yet another dark and dreadful highlight of this film), Red Road is indeed what one might call Dark Scots Cinema. [06/02/07]