|Producer:||Matthew James Wilkinson, Ed Barratt, Richard Wylie, Eric Tavitian, Fred Fiore|
|Cast:||Cavan Clerkin, Craig Fairbrass, Polly Maberly, Lorraine Burroughs, Mark Stobbart|
“Muscle” is a densely packed thriller that drips in testosterone as it follows the life of meek call-centre worker Simon whose everyday existence is one of boring monotony. Trying to get out of the rut, Simon joins a low rent gym where he meets Terry, an intimidating physical specimen o who offers his services as a personal trainer. As Simon physically begins to change, so does his life and it seems that Terry is helping him achieve all his goals. But when Terry begins to insinuate himself into all aspects of Simon’s life, new and dangerous motivations begin to reveal themselves.
With the very notion of ‘toxic masculinity’ being something of a hot topic at the moment, Gerard Johnson’s film is a timely piece of work that explores the darker elements of the male psyche. Alongside its compelling psychological aspects, it’s also a breathtakingly bravura piece of filmmaking with Johnson consistently keeping the audience on edge as events begin to spiral out of control.
The film is complemented by some stunning black and white cinematography from Stuart Bentley, which emphasises the male body and the desire for perfection as well as creating a pervading atmosphere of sweat-dripped tension and dark undertones of violence.
The performances also buoy everything along superbly. Cavan Clerkin as Simon finds the perfect balance of outer timidity and inner rage while Craig Fairbrass – known chiefly in the UK for a string of ‘hard man’ roles – plays of his screen persona to create a complex character of fearsome intensity.
Please note that this film contains sequences of flashing lights