Anne-Marie Duff and Olivia Colman show the bullet of a gun pierces more than one heart!
Thomas Brody Sangster (Jake) and Anne-Marie Duff (Mo)
Put two Bafta winning actresses Anne-Marie Duff and Olivia Colman, with one of Britain’s best drama writers Jimmy McGovern and Carol Cullington and greatness you would expect and greatness it delivers.
You would have to be made of stone to not be moved (or in tears) at Mo’s story, which takes two best friends and heartbreakingly pulls them apart through death, betrayal and loyalty. Anne-Marie Duff and Olivia Colman play Mo and Sue the best of friends and work colleagues. When Mo defies the local gangs who have ordered all the local businesses to shut in honour of the death of a gang member. Mo’s decides she’s had enough of the guns, drugs and crime and defies the order, continuing to open her salon. Sue goes along with her plan in support of her best friend to take a stand against local gang, lead by Cormack (Joe Dempsie).
However, it’s Sue who pays the consequences as her teenage son Sean (Oliver Lee) is gunned down in retaliation. Initially Mo wants nothing more than to support her friend and rally people to fight against the gangs, that is until she finds a gun in her 17 year-old son Jake’s bedroom and discovers he pulled the trigger that killed Sean under duress from Cormack.
Torn between her allegiances to her son and best friend, Mo is forced to keep the news from her bereft friend in order to protect her son Jake (Thomas Brody Sangster) in an effort to keep him out of jail – at the same time wanting to comfort Sue in her time of need. Eventually the truth comes tumbling out, as the police close in on Jake and Mo’s guilt and Sue’s realisation shows evidently as they’re faced down on the floor in the arrest scene.
The final scene is a masterpiece in acting from the two leads as Sue spits out her anger at Mo as they both stand there crying, separated by a deep chasm between the distraught, heartbroken pair. There’s a moment where they look like they’re so close to hugging, but the moment passes; the damage is done. What’s more the bitter pill is you know that really this has all been caused by the thing they were fighting against in the first place – the gangs.
Jimmy McGovern and Carol Cullington have tapped into the human psyche and society to bring us not only a realistic portrayal, but also the social questions that are relevant today. With gang, gun and drug culture rife this is a story that will resonate with all walks of life. A wonderfully written, acted and directed episode, that makes you want to cling onto those you love that little bit tighter.
Olivia Colman as distraught mother Sue