British crime films are a very mixed bunch, for every 'Long Good Friday' or 'Sexy Beast', there is a whole load of low rent, formulaic fayre of diminishing returns.
This film has one advantage from the off, not being set in London - or as many of the characters in the poorer films of this genre say it, 'Laanndan'. (Hiding those well brought up accents can be a strain perhaps).
It's set in Brighton, a town (recently upgraded to a 'City') on England's south coast. But not the Brighton known to many here in recent years, the place of celeb second homes, nightclub culture, a liberal place for homosexuals before most of the rest of the country became more adult and relaxed about this part of society.
The Brighton of mundane suburbia is the setting, not the cultural epicentre.
Largely set in a home, where Bill and his wife live with their 34 year old son, we first see them, the father and son, after being acquitted in a drugs trial, little to celebrate though - how did they get into court in the first place? Who grassed them up - have to be someone close, to their right little, tight little world of lower ranking club employees and drug pushers.
The home is the actual dwelling of the actor playing the father, where the son - his real life son - was actually brought up. Only the mother is played by a quite familiar actress - Julia Deakin. The father, Bill, being an ex hippy who wistfully reflects on the brief period of apparent enlightenment through Cannabis and LSD, via yoga and the Tibetan Book Of The Dead, before money, crime, harder drugs, intruded - which swept up Bill too.
So begins a claustrophobic period of suspicion, paranoia, leading to violence and murder. Between bouts of domestic bickering, including a 'meet my pregnant girlfriend' family dinner that is a mire of passive-aggressiveness.
The cast are largely drawn - when they are not family members of the writer and actor playing the son - from innovative and usually rather dark comedy shows and stand up.
Micro budget it might have, but Down Terrace punches well above it's weight. Lack of flash leads to a concentration on family dynamics - albeit a deeply disturbing one - realistic script and genuine plot shocks and surprises.
This film is refreshing, often laugh out loud funny - darkly funny usually - intense and a real gem. Clearly a labour of love from the small team involved in the whole production, a labour though of inspiration rather than just perspiration.