It's easy to imagine the pitch for Scottish drama Blinded: "It's Monarch Of The Glen written by Emile Zola!" Don't worry if 19th-century French Naturalist novelists aren't your thing, because there's still plenty to enjoy in writer/director Eleanor Yule's love triangle thriller: a perpetually scowling Peter Mullan; a radiant Jodhi May, and a potboiler plot that keeps you interested even when everything is as predictable as a drugs squad raid on Pete Doherty's pad.
Mullan stars as Francis Black, the miserable owner of a bleak and decrepit farmhouse in the wilds of Scotland where he lives with his young wife Rachel (May) and ageing mother Bella (Phyllida Law). Blinded in an accident some years before, his mood isn't aided by the arrival of Mike (Anders W Bethelsen), a Danish traveller who could only set hearts racing in very, very remote regions. Before you can say "simmering sexual tension", Rachel and Mike have embarked on a Mills and Boonesque rural affair and Francis is plotting his revenge. No prizes for guessing that a sump pit which bubbles menacingly away will soon become the scene of a crime. Or that Mike is carrying more baggage than just his rucksack...
"IT'S ALL A BIT TOO SQUEAKY CLEAN"
"Things round here have been pretty rancid for a while... now they stink to high heaven," a character observes towards the end of the film. The main problem with Blinded, though, is that it's all a bit too squeaky clean - the lust, the bloodletting, the resolution. It's those performances, especially May's, which ensure that Blinded is still one to watch.