The Corner (4 stars)

Long before The Wire became every two-bit critic’s all-time favourite show (be afraid people, even George Osborne is a fan) David Simon gave us The Corner, a relentlessly bleak mini-series which fleshed out the painful lives of West Baltimore’s most dedicated heroin addicts. Directed by Charles S Dutton, this six-parter is given a semi-documentary twist, with the residents’ futile hopes banging their head against a dirty grey wall of misery. This sensation is further heightened by the primary colour flashbacks which slowly reveal the dark paths the key characters eventually go down with little chance of hiking back up.

Although the story could happily accommodate a couple of hours snipped from it, the revelations in the final episode make the journey worthwhile. Still, I’d love to see the crestfallen look on the Shadow Abacus Counter’s face if he unwrapped this for Christmas.

(18) 346min (Warner Home Video)

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