Kelly + Victor is a gritty drama adapted from the novel by Niall Griffiths and explores a dark and ill-fated romantic relationship between the titular young couple, played by Antonia Campbell-Hughes and Julian Morris.
The two leads deliver strong, and at times harrowing, performances but never quite become likeable or provoke sympathy, and the relentless negativity of the plot makes for depressing viewing.
The film largely takes place in the seediest, least attractive areas of Liverpool where the inhabitants all seem to be involved in some form of criminal activity.
The story is brave, not least in the decision to give the pair just a handful of shared scenes, but at times vague. The shocking, dramatic finale will leave many reeling.
Personally I’ve tired of British cinema’s apparent obsession with portraying our shores in the least flattering of lights. Where are our answers to the films full of aspirational characters that help sell the American Dream around the world?
But if downhearted stories populated by brutal and brutalised characters are still your thing, Kelly + Victor is one of the best recent examples.
Our verdict: 3/5
Kelly + Victor is showing as part of the 56th BFI London Film Festival. Visit bfi.org.uk/lff for screening details and booking info.