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Nil by Mouth 18 rating

Twenty-five years old and newly restored, Gary Oldman’s BAFTA-winning debut as writer-director remains a magnificent achievement.

Drama 1997 129 mins

Director: Gary Oldman



An uncompromisingly frank portrait of a particular sector of working-class family life in south-east London (where Oldman grew up), it’s a powerful, astute, authentically foul-mouthed account of unfettered machismo, booze and drugs, petty crime and domestic abuse. The performances are excellent throughout, especially those of Ray Winstone as the volatile but self-pitying Ray, Kathy Burke as his long-suffering wife Val and Charlie Creed-Miles as her junkie brother Billy. Shot and scripted in a deceptively casual realist style reminiscent of 70s Cassavetes, this profoundly personal and humane film eschews sensationalism and sentimentality to illuminate a vicious circle of abuse and criminality.

A dark but dazzling masterpiece and BAFTA winner for Best British Film and Best Original Screenplay.