plays: Robert, a University student and protagonist
The film opens with Robert out jogging in the city and he witnesses Brond (Stratford Johns) pushing a child over the bridge to his death. Later that evening, Robert goes to a party, meets Margaret (whom, later, he finds himself attracted to) and sees Brond. You know something hits his memory about Brond but it's unclear both to him and to us what this is or how much he recalls because, as he says later, 'I was out of my head'. Everyone thinks he is drunk, but he may have been drugged by Brond. But, when he was out running, he was in pain, which you think is a stitch, and at the party, Margaret asks him more than once if he is alright.
He collapses outside Jackie's door, in the middle of the night after he has come home 'drunk', and wakes up in hospital, having had appendicitis, with his father at his bedside. So, it's unclear. Maybe he is ill and drunk, maybe he was drugged by Brond. But, whatever, it helps him forget what he saw on the bridge until he is reminded later.
He goes off to do a removals job and we meet his surly, scary co-worker, Primo (James Cosmo, REBUS). Despite the fact he has been told not to lift anything heavy, Robert helps lift the largest piece of furniture you have ever seen in your life, a valuable, antique wardrobe and, before they let it fall over the balustrade and down many flights of stairs, they drop it on Robert's foot. Primo takes Robert to hospital, and Robert spends almost the whole of the rest of the film walking with a stick.
Robert is reminded of the moment on the bridge by another student who mentions when they last met, at the party. Robert begins to remember Brond's presence. Then, Margaret comes back into Robert's life and asks him to deliver a package to Brond. Robert is later arrested for at least one of the deaths that takes place, and accused of other deaths.
Robert is the catalyst who brings together, not only Brond and his henchman, Primo, and the child on the bridge, but also the links with Northern Irish terrorism thru' Jackie and her husband, and the events that lead to Kilpatrick's death and the death of a political figure.
My thoughts: This is a film that John made soon after leaving drama school, at the age of 24. It was his first big break and a starring role at that! One reviewer wrote of the newcomer as the "completely gorgeous John Hannah who raised my pulse rate for three weeks". I've included a rather lengthy, detailed summary because it's so rare to find.
Last Update: 3 November by SRAH