One-note BBC-adapted cop drama starring Paul Bettany, Stephen Graham and Brian Cox

Brothers Joe (Paul Bettany) and Chrissie (Stephen Graham) are two cops tasked with helping solve a particularly gruesome crime in their seaside hometown. When they track down a likely-looking suspect (a suitably creepy Ben Crompton), they’re inspired by their now-retired hardline cop father (Brian Cox) to bring about justice on their own terms – but can they avoid the attention of fellow copper Robert (Mark Strong)?

Director Nick Murphy brings real class to this adaptation of BBC Three series Conviction, sticking to a downbeat, silvery-grey colour scheme without resorting to grim-up-north cliches. Sadly he’s not given much else to do by Bill Gallagher’s relentlessly one-note screenplay, with its procession of alternately moody and outright aggressive scenes (there’s one bemusingly po-faced encounter set against the backdrop of a tango class). The script also leaves a generally capable cast high and dry: Strong’s isolated ‘lone wolf’ persona may benefit from having murkier motivations, but lead man Bettany fails to convince in under-written interactions with his wife and daughter. This being a British cop drama headlined by four men, there’s also a noticeable dearth of strong female parts, although Zoë Tapper (as Chrissie’s squeeze Jemma) makes a decent fist of what she’s given.

There are other minor issues that niggle too: why are crime scenes left so open to public interference? Who is looking after Cox’s Alzheimers’-stricken cop? And why isn’t that disused cinema locked? These petty misdemeanours wouldn’t count so much against a better film, but with this film’s prior convictions, it’s hard not to hold it in contempt.

On limited release from Fri 31 May. DVD release from Mon 10 Jun.



Mean, melancholy thriller based on TV series Conviction. Two brothers, also cops, investigate the murder of a young girl. When the suspected killer looks set to walk, they cross the line to take control.

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