Sunday, November 18, 2012

BRIMSTONE AND TREACLE (1982) movie review

Brimstone & Treacle (1982) d. Loncraine, Richard (UK)

With his career as a musical superstar firmly in place, relative screen newbie Sting was tapped to shoulder his third of this black comedy three-hander with venerable veteran screen talents Denholm Elliot and Joan Plowright. Turns out he’s more than up to the task, playing a playfully sinister sociopath who insinuates himself into the elder couple’s lives under the pretense of being their infirm daughter’s (Suzanna Hamilton) unrequited paramour.

As the story unfolds, the question as to the interloper’s true identity becomes ever cloudier, with director Loncraine throwing marvelously ambiguous – both in style and substance – curve balls our way. While it never goes quite as dark as it perhaps should and the final unresolved question mark mars any truly satisfactory conclusion, there is much to admire in the plot’s quirky rhythms and universally sterling performances.


  1. Yes, great performances here from all concerned. I remember thinking that it was a bit . . . . overblown in places (I would word it better if I could formulate clearer thoughts this evening) but it was a fantastic piece and I certainly think that the core of the material could be taken and used as the core for something just as powerful today. Basically, I'm saying that this one could stand a chance of surviving a good reimagining :-)

    1. I agree it never quite goes as far as I would like it to. It's interesting material, but the ending feels very abrupt and a little on the unsatisfying side. I'd be happy to see someone else take another whack at it, no offense to Mr. Potter.