It may well be in years to come the careers of both Imogen Poots and Craig Roberts will soar and this film will be re-discovered. The relationship between Mary and Sam is kept to a series of quietly barbed exchanges, further pushed by her belief that he is in on the heist. Mary is such a captivating character whose outward behaviour suggests coldness but who is clearly bubbling underneath with love ; Imogen Poots captures this perfectly. Timothy Spall can often give the appearance of ease and Charlie is a character who starts the film believing his life is over even though he continues to play the host. As matters develop he starts to see a new venture that can inspire him. Craig Roberts’ Sam does tend towards dialogue that can seem a little too sculpted for someone so young, then again there is no reason why the main character in a film should not be well educated. Aboud has limited time to build Sam and Elliot’s business ambition back story but both actors carry it with enough conviction for us to believe.
Beyond occasional glimpses of police activity outside we never see the other side of the negotiations so their response to the antagonists’ demands are not heard by us and this plays well with the captors’ increasing frustration that nothing is happening. Kevin Mckidd has the most difficult role in that Cameron is clearly several cards short of a full deck. One moment he is threatening all and sundry, the next he is moved by some opera music. Aboud never quite nails his character as well as his captives and there is an awkward, out of place moment when he appears to be about to assault Mary that seems to have been placed there simply to add weight to Sam’s willingness to do anything to help her, albeit in his lachrymose way. Clegg, played at just the right level by Josef Altin is the most overtly comic ingredient who manages to get himself shot and panics easily; a loose cannon you feel could upset the whole thing.
Despite some action moments, much of the film resembles a play in which we slowly get to know each of the characters. The unhurried pace may frustrate some viewers more used to the rat-a-tat-tat of Guy Richie and co, but Aboud wants to create something more long lasting. His uses of close up shots of diamonds and prisms adds to the mood and there are some stand out scenes notably where Mary tells the tale behind one item of jewellery in the shop, Imogen Poots holding the screen with natural grace. It is one of the loveliest scenes you’ll see all year.