Our film opens on a stormy cliff top, as a down-and-out worker leaps to his death, crashing onto the rocks below: in the coastal town of Mugsborough, life on the wrong side of the breadline is often so unbearable for our characters that death offers a compassionate escape.
As we follow the lives of the painter- decorators of Rushton & Co - employed to renovate the derelict manor house ‘The Cave’ - reminders of mortality haunt the lives of our characters in the form of dark internal monologue, or literal visions. Poverty stalks the town like a serial killer.
Our cinematic inspirations use clarity in visual storytelling to show how the world of dangerous or soul-crushing work affects those caught in its grip. Think of the dark spiral in Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood that drags Daniel Plainview to an all-encompassing life of desperate, murderous competition, or the deep sorrow and loneliness expressed by Kanji Watanabe in Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece, Ikiru, as he learns how to truly live, despite the blind compliance of the society around him. There is a clear visual vocabulary present in the book that we think easily translates to screen—our characters live surrounded by drunken violence, god-fearing fanatics, deadly working conditions and bloody reckoning.
Throughout the film we will implement the gallows humour of the men; offering a brief respite to our audience from the bleak reality of ‘the world’ through Tressell’s ever- present observational wit.
This adaptation will strive to avoid being yet another bland British period drama—it is gritty, thrilling and challenging in equal measure.