Aidan Gillen receives the plaudits for his role in Game of Thrones but the Drumcondra man never convinced me as slippery Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish. It’s in the smaller movies, movies like Wake Wood, Treacle Jr., Mister John, and now Still, where Gillen’s best work is to be found.
In Simon Blake’s Brit crime drama Gillen plays Carver, a photographer struggling to get over the death of his teenage son, the victim of a hit-and-run the year before. He floats about, attempting to maintain some cordiality with his ex-wife (Mealing) while getting images together for an upcoming exhibition. He befriends Jimmy (Joseph Duffy), the younger brother of a teen stabbed by gang members, but is warned away by prickly gang leader Carl (Green). Meanwhile Carver’s best friend, the dope-smoking burnout journalist Ed (Slinger), finds new lease of life when Jimmy’s mother pleads with him to find her son’s killers…
Still is a film that isn’t worried about hitting all the right beats at the right time. It meanders about looking to explore whatever wanders its way, like following Gillen around as he comes to terms with what must be undiagnosed depression; Blake doesn’t confront this head on but Gillen’s shabby apartment is a metaphor for his mental state, he’s not in the right frame of mind to truly engage with new girlfriend Christina (Elodie Yung), which takes a tragic turn, and is half-expecting the exhibition to fall through and so doesn’t fully commit.
With so much time spent on Gillen stumbling about, and Slinger’s attempts to involve the disengaged detective investigating the teen’s murder in his own theories as to who the culprit might be, that Still eventually morphs into a vigilante movie comes as a real surprise. Not a vigilante movie along the lines of Death Wish or Death Sentence – it’s more psychological than that – but Still finds its groove late on. When that third act comes around, and an impressive turn by Sonny Green comes more to the fore, the film finally realises its potential.
The scattershot approach to the story may be off-putting to some, it’s Simon Blake’s appalling use of music that will confuse all. Still opens with a tender narration by Gillen as he reminisces about his son, the mood of which completely killed by some terrible ballad that follows. From then there is forgettable urban tunes and the strange use of jazz over the London city shots. Baffling.