There’s a difference in coping with blindness that you have had since childhood and finding yourself blind as an adult. Unfortunately Mal is one of the unlucky ones who has to deal with blindness when he loses his sight fighting in Afghanistan.
Returning as a wounded veteran, Mal (Alec Newman) lives with his guide dog on the tough Greyhawk council estate in a terrible area in London. His Labrador dog, Quince, is now everything to Mal. But one day, after an argument with a group of lads, the dog disappears. Not only does Mal lose his guide dog but he is hardly able to function without the dog’s assistance and we feel for him as he stumbles from his local café to his home. He finds his old walking stick and gets help in working out his route.
Mal knocks on flat doors to try and find the dog and is befriended by Paula (Zoe Telford) who has trouble keeping her teenage son out of trouble. She helps Mal produce leaflets which he distributes. An Asian neighbour is kind to him and tries to help as does his pub drinking companion, the elderly Howard (Jack Shepherd).
Mal starts off brusque and bad-tempered. He hates the estate he lives on and is about to move to a cottage in the country which he has bought with compensation money for the loss of his eyes. He gradually softens up with the help of single mother Paula who brings a little gentleness into his life and touches his more humane emotions. He is also grateful for the attentions of Howard and even appreciates the interest taken by his Asian neighbour.
Director Guy Pitt, together with his brother Matt, who wrote the screenplay, has given us a moving, always interesting story. The small parts are well portrayed and Newman is very convincing as a blind man already struggling to cope with the difficulties of living in a sighted world and then suddenly facing a major disaster with the loss of his dog. He has obviously done his research well and we notice how he puts out his hand as though holding the dog’s lead before he finds a stick to use.
The electronic music is in keeping with the film’s tense heart-thumping moments as Mal searches for his dog. This is a good British drama, which is at times tense but with a truthfulness around the central character – with an exceptionally good performance by Alec Newman – which gives us a real taste of what it feels like to be blind in a hazardous, unkind environment.
Review by Carlie Newman
[SRA value=”4″ type=”YN”]
Greyhawk is out on DVD on 25 May 2015