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The flicker of exploitation-movie glee in the title of Abner Pastoll’s third feature flowers horribly in the central dilemma facing single mother Sarah (Sarah Bolger) when her home is invaded by criminal bottom-feeder Tito (Andrew Simpson). Like The Wire’s Omar, he is a dealer who steals from other dealers, looking for somewhere to stash his ill-gotten gains. Not only must Sarah shield her two children from the interloper, but there’s the issue of whom the drugs really belong to.
Set in an unnamed Northern Irish city (with soaring drone shots of Belfast), A Good Woman Is Hard to Find also semi-successfully blends in kitchen-sink grit, emphasising Sarah’s precarious status in trips to the supermarket where she struggles to settle the bill, and her vulnerability in the micro-aggressions she’s subjected to from the security guard. But the social aspect isn’t as morally resonant in the film as Paul Andrew Williams mustered in London to Brighton. The subplot about Sarah’s son – left mute after seeing his father stabbed to death – feels underdone.
But the opportunistic genre-welding holds together thanks to vivid performances. Bolger makes a slightly implausible character arc completely convincing, graduating from panicky improvisation to grim determination. And Edward Hogg, as the teeth-baring Mancunian crime boss prone to discoursing on the correct use of metaphor (joining Sexy Beast’s Don Logan and In Bruges’s Harry in the ranks of pedantic Brit kingpins), confirms his standing as a sorely underused asset of the UK film industry. Extra points are earned for the best weaponising of a dildo.
• A Good Woman Is Hard to Find is released in the UK on 25 October.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: A Good Woman Is Hard to Find review – gritty Northern Ireland crime thriller | Film