It is an established rule with films adapted from successful stage plays, that, sure as night follows day, the filmmakers will tirelessly explain the lengths they went to 'open out' the source material, while just as inevitably critics, including this one, will witter on endlessly about the stage-bound restrictions of the self-same material.
And so to Some Voices, a showcase for Ray Winstone at the Royal Court some years ago and now the debut feature from Simon Cellan Jones, whose CV includes TV's Cracker and Our Friends In The North. Winstone's part as the care-in-the-community, borderline schizophrenic Ray is here taken by Daniel Craig. All wide eyes and distraction, Craig does his best to suggest his inner turmoil. He's not helped, however, by Cellan Jones' penchant for disembodied voices and scratchy visuals. Cellan Jones' thesis seems to be this: madness is like watching too much MTV.
Elsewhere, the reliable David Morrissey and the watchable Kelly Macdonald (Julie Graham rounds out what is basically a four-hander cast) provide solid support as, respectively, the concerned brother and flighty girlfriend. Well played, and mostly well judged, there's still no escaping the fact that this is a small story, lacking the sweep or ambition of the aforementioned Our Friends In The North.
And it is here that the earlier rule comes into force. In adapting his own play, Joe Penhall has introduced new locations, excised a lot of the more fanciful dialogue (to be replaced largely by Cellan Jones' fanciful visuals) and refashioned his vision to suit a new medium. Except he hasn't. He's merely done window dressing; to wit, the dramatic climax, while powerful, is a purely theatrical experience. Claustrophobic and cornered, this probably brought the house down on stage, but on film, it's simply static.