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Mr In-Between
cast: Andrew Howard, Geraldine O'Rawe, Andrew Tiernan, Saeed Jaffrey, and David Calder

director: Paul Sarossy

98 minutes (15) 2003
Universal VHS rental
Also available to rent on DVD

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by Debbie Moon
Jon is a hitman in the employ of the Tattooed Man, a mysterious gangland boss given to existential meditations on the nature of evil. Despite his employer's orders to revel in his calling, despite ample drink and drugs, Jon is uneasy about his life. A chance meeting with old school friend Andy - who's now married to Cathy, the girl Jon always fancied - seems to offer a chance of normality, a way back into the real world. But as their friendship develops, and Jon falls for Cathy all over again, he finds himself unwittingly bringing the evil of his world into theirs - and with Cathy and the Tattooed Man fighting for his soul, it can only end in tragedy...
   Adapted from Neil Cross' underrated novel, this bitter personal drama isn't exactly an easy watch. Andrew Howard's Jon is a cold but fragmented man; a modern Frankenstein's creature doomed to cause destruction wherever he goes, he manages to engage our sympathies despite his appalling deeds. David Calder's Tattooed Man is a similarly epic creation, more Bond villain than gangland boss, obsessed with his young protégé's potential for evil.
   With its deliberately heightened atmosphere, moral deliberations and bleak humour, Mr In-Between may not appeal to those who like their crime gritty and naturalistic. But, viewed as a Faustian parable, it's an engaging and often terrifying story. Sarossy's direction is slick and fast-paced, revelling in the bleak inner-city landscapes and empty interiors, while still finding room for the fragile emotions of these wounded characters.
   Despite carefully avoiding the exact details of Jon's crimes, this isn't exactly a movie for the squeamish: but as an exploration of the dark side of masculinity, modern life, and the human condition, it's a gripping experience. Mr In-Between's cinema release came and went almost unnoticed: it deserves better, so get out there and rent it.

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