Martin Pyrite (Andy Nyman) is having the worst day ever.
It’s 2010, smack in the middle of the financial crisis. He’s lost his job, got a piss-poor reference and no one in the office will talk to him. He’s up to his eyes in debt, he can’t quite bring himself to tell his beautiful high class wife (Neve Campbell), and now someone’s nicked his bloody watch. And it’s about to get worse…
The second feature from Footballer’s Wives actor Cristian Solimeno is a resolutely British slow burner, tea and biscuits and all.
Building gradually, maintaining a deliberately stately pace throughout, The Glass Man starts as low-key comedy drama gathering handfuls of tension but focusing more on atmosphere and downbeat dialogue than action or momentum.
Nyman as sad sack Pyrite, Campbell rocking a refreshing grown up role and sporting a half decent English accent, and Solimeno himself (in a supporting role as Pyrite’s successful movie star mate), all impress, bringing believability, nuance and sympathy to somewhat under explored characters; James Cosmo, as the unpredictable stranger who makes Pyrite a Faustian offer he can’t refuse brings a extra level of volatility and intrigue, leading to a smart, pleasing and unexpected third act reveal.
Entertaining, surprising, touching to a point, The Glass Man ’s unnecessarily bloated length (103 mins), languorous pacing and repetitive nature, coupled with the simplicity (insubstantiality?) of the story itself lets it down.
This feels like TV. Great TV, mind – a perfect 60 minute BBC special, that the whole office would be talking about the next day.
It split audiences, it provoked discussion with the FF crowd and it’s well worth a watch, but could be one for DVD.