In the follow-up to Dirty God, writer-director Sacha Polak reunites with star Vicky Knight to create another slice-of-life drama with Silver Haze. This time, Knight plays Franky, a nurse from a working-class family who’s scarred, both physically and mentally, from a fire she survived as a child at her father’s pub. She’s convinced the blaze was caused by the woman her father has since started a new family with, but thanks to a lack of evidence, the police have been unable to do anything. However, when Franky meets Florence (Esmé Creed-Miles) in her ward after she tries to kill herself, the pair are drawn to each other as more chaos erupts around them.
Partially inspired by Knight’s own life, Polak’s screenplay is brimming with a collection of dramatic subplots that weave in and out of Franky’s life. There’s her turbulent relationship with Florence (which materialises a little too quickly), her sister Leah’s (played by Knight’s own real-life sister Charlotte Knight) conversion to Islam after an abusive relationship and Frankie’s ongoing search for answers about who started the fire. Although there’s a lot going on here, the seemingly endless source of conflict gives a tangible insight into the kind of messy life the protagonist leads and provides a reason for why a ball of rage constantly burns within her.
Knight is nothing short of magnificent in her latest role. While she’s able to explode with ferocious violence at the drop of a hat, the actor likewise demonstrates a warm sense of humour and tenderness, and it’s in these small pockets of humanity where this film is at its best. Polak sees through the hostility and family arguments to find the compassion lying underneath. Whether it’s Franky making small talk about a patient’s hair colour, playing in the sea or comforting a friend in a time of grief, there’s a moving beauty at the heart of this film, which is echoed in the sublime cinematography.
Though some of the character development feels like it’s on fast-forward and there are perhaps too many subplots in play to tie everything together neatly, there’s nevertheless a rawness to Silver Haze that’s carried confidently by Knight’s spectacular performance.
Silver Haze does not have a UK release date yet.
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