"Down Terrace" makes huge impression for a small film
For every great film like "Pulp Fiction," there are thousands of others that try and fail to present a captivating story centered on crime. Directors like Tarantino and Scorsese have made their careers by weaving interesting crime stories, but with "Down Terrace," Ben Wheatley has shown that he has what it takes to be lumped in with the best.
In "Down Terrace," the leaders of a crime family, Bill (Robert Hill) and Karl (Robin Hill), have just been released from jail. Once the pair returns home, they start their search for the snitch in their group. The family isn't too trusting of one another including their mother, Maggie (Julia Deakin), and their friends Eric (David Schaal), Garvey (Tony Way), and Pringle (Michael Smiley). To top it all off Karl's ex-girlfriend, Valda (Kerry Peacock), might be pregnant with his child.
The film is mostly set in the family's home, which gives the film a claustrophobic yet realistic feel. The settings are gritty; hallways can barely fit one person at a time, the kitchen isn't much bigger, and every room is in need of a fresh coat of paint.
While the film is mostly raw and depressing, it does have its moments of dark humor. "Dark Terrace" was made with a very small budget, but the film's interesting characters and a well-written script with some great surprises make up for its lack of flash.
For all of the great things the film does, it is not a movie that will appeal to everyone. The film is a slow burn with moments of action sprinkled throughout. It doesn't move at a brisk pace like bigger movies do, but instead trudges on through slow and deliberately. It's also somewhat difficult to pick up and understand the British slang constantly being used throughout the story, though that's only a minor detail.
Overall, if you're in the mood for a well-made British gangster film, you can do far worse than "Down Terrace."