Radiator Review by The Times ★ ★ ★ ★

November 2015

Don’t let the production credits fool you. Radiator may boast a slew of big-name backers, including Spectre’s Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson, and, indeed, Mrs James Bond herself, Rachel Weisz, but this is no popcorn pleasure-fest. What it is, instead, is a moving and often brutally effective disquisition on the ageing process, on senility and dementia, and how families are regularly wrenched apart by the same. Directed by Tom Browne, it follows the empathetic hangdog protagonist Daniel (Daniel Cerqueira, a co-writer with Browne), a middle-aged schoolteacher who returns to his parents’ grim Cumbrian cottage to visit his mother, Maria (Gemma Jones), and to help care for his dementia-addled and increasingly irascible father, Leonard (Richard Johnson, who died earlier this year). The result is a harshly compelling melodrama that floats between Michael Haneke’s Amour and the plays of Samuel Beckett, and features Daniel regularly tending to the toileting needs of his father, while conversations and intimations suggest a darkness all along at the heart of this tiny, claustrophobic family. Impressive and, yes, better than Spectre.

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