The Glass Man review

What would you do if your life was spiralling out of control – if you had just lost your well-paid job in the City, and you owed a big sum of money to some rather shady characters? And what would you do if a big bruiser came calling ... and then offered you a way out of your debt? And what would you do if the way out of your debt was to help said bruiser carry out a little dirty work? What would you do?

Martin Pyrite (Nyman) doesn't need to wonder: the meek, middle-aged, middle-class man finds himself smack in the middle of just such a sitiuation. The economic downturn has seen him retrenched, but he hasn't worked up the courage to tell wife Julie (Campbell); each day, he heads off to "work", just as he's done every day for years. But as he continues the pretence, he gets deeper and deeper into money troubles ... until one night debt collector Pecco (Cosmo) comes calling. Pecco makes a deal with Martin: if Martin will help him carry out a simple task, then he'll wipe the slate clean ... of course, there's no mention of what the task involves, but you can probably guess that it won't be pleasant.

Nyman has been steadily building a name for himself in the horror genre for some years now – first in Chris Smith's terrific Severance (and then in his recent Black Death), then in the wonderful Charlie Brooker-penned Big Brother zombie TV series Dead Set. And this year he wowed the West End with his spooky live show Ghost Stories. So his horror credentials are well established. But as horrifying as it is at times, The Glass Man is not a horror film; it's more a psycholological thriller, and a damned fine one at that.

Nyman's performance as a man on the brink is pivotal to the whole thing working, and Nyman does a terrific job – he's mesmerising as a man journeying into his own private hell, and ably carries the whole movie. Also brilliant is Cosmo as the mysterious, and very scary, Pecco, giving Nyman plenty to work with and play against. And Campbell, although she doesn't have an awful lot to do, shines as always – and she pulls off a more than acceptable British accent. The Glass Man is thrilling, absorbing, scary and always watchable, and is a film that will further elevate Andy Nyman's star status.

the glass man 2011 movie embed

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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