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The Violators 15 rating

In this spiky and stylish debut from novelist Helen Walsh, two girls from different backgrounds form an unlikely bond, setting off on a dangerous course.

Drama 2016 96 mins

Director: Helen Walsh



Novelist Helen Walsh presents a strikingly assured debut feature with this distinctive take on the social drama. Shelly (Lauren McQueen) is the de-facto matriarch of a dispossessed household, her days largely focused on keeping her two brothers out of trouble following her own expulsion from school. Unexpectedly a new friendship emerges with a college girl from a comfortable household, Rachel (Brogan Ellis), but her motives are worryingly opaque and the girls soon find themselves setting out on a dangerous course.

While clearly rooted in British realist tradition, The Violators takes a fresh approach to a familiar milieu, setting its story in relatively refined Cheshire rather than the more typical industrial wastelands, for one. The colourful cinematography from Tobin Jones also makes a change from the expected palette, while some of his oblique angles and roving camerawork recall Alan Clarke’s dynamic approach to social drama. Since its premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival The Violators has been acclaimed from many quarters; described by The Times as "a powerful debut" and The Arts Desk as "ballsy, bruising, brilliant".