Hector, review: ‘Unsentimental but not harsh’

09:00 14 December 2015

This straight talking story about a life on the margins is full of depth, but might not changes hearts and minds, says Michael Joyce.

Hector (Mullen) is homeless and has a gammy leg. Every Christmas he hitches down from Glasgow to London to spend the winter period in a shelter run by volunteers. This year the festivities are complicated by the knowledge that at the start of the New Year he is going to have an operation, a development that has prompted him to tentatively reach out to his family who he hasn’t been in contact with for a decade and a half.

Gavin’s film is unsentimental but not harsh. This transient life is hard but not entirely bleak, there are moments of contentment and you see how it’s something people could get accustomed to, just another rut a to get stuck in. One of Hector’s problems is a tendency to keep things to himself; however the film’s chief virtue is a willingness to leave things unsaid. It doesn’t whack you with a social message but shows you a life on the margins and trusts you to come to correct conclusions. The film is helped here enormously by Mullan’s presence in the central role. His track record proves that if there are harsh truths to be delivered he’ll give it to you straight, brutally straight (as in Sunset Song last week.)

He gives humanity and depth to people who a lot of us find it easier to deal with in more simplified terms. I’d love to say that the film had a positive effect on me but literally a minute after leaving the screening, when a homeless man inquired after some change, I gave my stock, head-down, mumbled sorrymate response as I sped off into the West End night.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Stories

Mon, 14:59
Jaron Semper was part of a tail-end resistance that added 51 runs to North Middlesex's total but that effort proved to be in vain. Pic: Max Flego

Overseas recruit Mitch Murray hit his first half-century for North Middlesex and was the top scorer in Saturday’s clash with Richmond - but the Crouch End club slumped to their third successive defeat in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County League.

Mon, 14:29
Liam Hughes was Hampstead's best performer with the bat and ball but his efforts were not enough to save his side from defeat. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Hampstead suffered another setback in their title defence, losing for the third time in their opening four Premier Division matches after falling 99 runs short in their chase against Teddington.

Mon, 12:00
Ken Loach in Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach

Last week there was an article in The Guardian about how Labour candidates in the last elections were like “middle class Ryanair passengers,” trying to suppress their metropolitan squeamishness while canvassing in traditional Labour areas.

Mon, 09:00
What would Brexit mean for the property market?

With a new Mayor and the EU referendum fast approaching, north London property expert Simon Gerrard explores how the ballot box can affect the capital

Mon, 08:00
Anthony Hopkins. Picture: Steve Dietl

Misconduct is a truly terrible film; but it is at least a compelling terrible film.

Most read Hampstead & Highgate etcetera

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe