Maxine Peake as Charlotte is fantastic in this low-budget indie psychological thriller. She’s introduced as a cold and calculating career woman, someone who can pay for her father’s funeral, without actually bothering to go to it. Her minimalist apartment in London’s docklands is devoid of any personality, soft edges or warmth – a hostile place for babies.
When she’s passed over for promotion, she returns home to a confrontation with her cleaner that results in the unravelling of her high-powered life and the start of a chain of events that can only end in disaster. It’s a credit to Peake that she’s able to transform her character and draw you into her madness so that you end up with some sympathy for her. As Charlotte struggles to confront what’s happened and with almost no words spoken, you want to scream at her to stop before it’s too late.
She is ‘Sha’ to her sister (Christine Bottomley from Great Night Out), whose arrival reminds us of Charlotte’s journey from her working-class northern roots. There are other reminders of class distinction in London, helped along by the security guard played by Inbetweeners Blake Harrison. It’s not just the car, the apartment, the cleaner, or the money; there’s only balsamic vinegar for the fish and chips, and she has to pick out the rice from the sushi for baby food.
Academy Award nominee and fellow Crouchender Roger Pratt does a brilliant job with the cinematography infusing the Docklands and London’s skyline with a sinister tension. If, like ArtHouse, you support independent cinema, you’ll definitely want to see Keeping Rosy from first time director Steve Reeves.
“Maxine Peake does a fine job of playing a seriously unlikeable character in this frosty, low-budget British drama.”