Keeping Rosy - Maxine Peake

Right from the start of taut, claustrophobic British thriller Keeping Rosy, it is clear that Maxine Peake’s high-flying media executive Charlotte is so tightly wound something is going to snap.

The signs are there as soon as she wakes alone in her luxury Canary Wharf flat, a sleek, pristine home that is as soulless and impersonal as a hotel. Who lives in a place like this? A driven workaholic who has put everything into her career, that’s who. In her office she is prickly and awkward with her co-workers, who are cooing over a colleague’s baby. Charlotte doesn’t have a maternal bone in her body, it seems. Then comes a bombshell. Instead of an expected promotion she is being made redundant.

Keeping Rosy - Blake Harrison & Maxine Peake

“Charlotte’s life spirals out of control”

What tips her over the edge, however, is an angry encounter with her Polish cleaner (Elisa Lasowski), caught in the act of smoking in her perfect apartment. From here, Charlotte’s life spirals out of control. And every step she takes to rectify her multiplying problems only makes her situation worse – as do the interventions of her estranged working-class sister (Christine Bottomley) and a scheming security guard (Blake Harrison, better known as the gormless Neil in The Inbetweeners).

Although undeniably gripping, things get more than a little far-fetched. But if the plot doesn’t withstand close scrutiny, Peake certainly does. A whirl of conflicting emotions visible on her porcelain-pale skin, she makes her off-putting character credible and compelling.

Like its protagonist, Keeping Rosy has its flaws but remains an impressive calling card for first-time feature director Steve Reeves and a refreshing change from low-budget British cinema’s usual laddish crime flicks.

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Certificate 15. Runtime 93 mins. Director Steve Reeves.