Review

Run review – former boy racer driven to zombified despair

Mark Stanley is terrific as an Aberdeenshire family man whose dreams have gone nowhere.

Mark Stanley is terrific as an Aberdeenshire family man whose dreams have gone nowhere.

⭐⭐⭐

Game of Thrones actor Mark Stanley gives a less-is-more masterclass in acting in this low-key social realist drama from Scott Graham, set in a rundown Aberdeenshire fishing town. It’s a film with echoes of Andrea Arnold and perhaps Ken Loach – but Graham is a local boy, and brings a sense of place and character that is all his own. And Stanley is terrific: real and believable playing a family man in his 30s nagged by a sense that his life has gone nowhere. He’s become a kind of zombified version of himself, mumbling and clenched, with no way of communicating how he feels.

Stanley plays Finnie, who as a teenager was a boy racer. Back then, he got matching Bruce Springsteen tattoos – Born to Run – with his girlfriend Katie (Amy Manson) and dreamed of getting out. Instead, they got married and had two children. Finnie now works in a fish-gutting factory, and the years have made him angry and exhausted. When Katie buys him a going-out shirt he shrugs; where are they going to go?

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These days it’s Finnie’s teenage son, Kid (Anders Hayward), who races cars, with his pregnant off-on girlfriend, Kelly (brilliantly played by Marli Siu). One night, after a family row, Finnie takes Kid’s car out, and ends up with Kelly in the passenger seat. Suddenly, he sees the possibility of a different life, a second act, a chance to do things differently and put his mistakes right.


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The film isn’t perfect. Some of the emotional scenes feel flat or underpowered; but moments in the car when Finnie is driving suicidally fast are horribly tense. And for a story about manhood in crisis, the women here are satisfyingly three-dimensional; it’s their tenderness that gives the film its beating heart. Finnie’s wife, Katie, is sparky and wise. And pregnant Kelly has the best line, delivered with humour and heartbreaking vulnerability: “How can someone love you the one day and not the next? I still love everyone I’ve ever loved. I’m like a dog.”

• Run is released in the UK on 13 March.

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