Realistic, honest, relevant and not without humour, Sink is a thought provoking film that undoubtedly captures the situation of many people in the United Kingdom today. Set in London, Micky (Martin Herdman) is struggling to keep his head above water. Not only is he concerned for his son's future, desperate to keep him on the straight and narrow, he also has the responsibility of caring for his elderly father who is suffering from dementia. His pressures become even greater when he is fired from his job and there seem to be few other opportunities on the horizon. It's a story that will resonate with many; a man trying to make his way in the world, struggling to make ends meet and never seemingly able to cut a break. Micky’s misfortune plays out against the backdrop of the city, where money swiftly changes hands and excess seems rife. When a opportunity falls in to Micky’s lap that will help him out of his current situation he has a decision to make. Battling between his own morality and desperate need, he must now choose which path he wishes to take.
With Sink, Director Mark Gillis has crafted a strong and truthful film that not only entertains but also provokes reactions and raises questions within the viewer. What would we do in Micky’s situation? How do we judge him based on the decisions he takes? What is it that we value as a society?
This is a film about people and the performances enhance the realistic tone of the film. Martin Herdman and real life son Josh (playing his on screen son, Jason) are a winning combination, sparring off one another with painful believability. Ian Hogg as Micky's father crafts an emotional portrayal of a man suffering from what must be one of the cruelest diseases there is. There are equally strong female performances; the natural touch of Marlene Sidaway as neighbour Jean and Tracey Wilkinson who portrays Mickey's love interest Lorraine to perfection, making you yearn for the pair to make a go of things.
Everything depicted on screen is recognisable, from the council estates to the job centre to the city spivs. It is tempting to use the word gritty but on reflection that seems too cliched a term for what is an honest story that does not overly dramatise situations merely for effect. There is no need to. Life is engaging enough and always streaked through with humour which is reflected here too. So, don’t expect Sink to be a depressing state of affairs, as this is most certainly not the case. There are wonderful wry touches to bring a smile and some lovely laugh out loud moments, one in particular I shan't spoil here but suffice to say, it is just perfect.
Made on a budget of just under £35,000 and the first feature film for Mark Gillis, Sink is a marvellous achievement for all involved. It is the spirit of collaboration and independent filmmaking and the type of film we really do need to see more of. Finally, a recommendation is not complete without a nod to the music of Mallik Gris, performed by Oliver Hoare and The Late Great which clips in to the film so perfectly, it stays with you long after the closing credits.
Sink (2017, UK) / Director: Mark Gillis / Cast: Martin Herdman, Ian Hogg, Josh Herdman, Marlene Sidaway, Tracey Wilkinson, Sadie Shimmin