In Away, Joseph (Timothy Spall) is recently widowed and depressed to the point of suicide. He meets Ria (Juno Temple) who is running away from an abusive relationship. Ria is tough but vulnerable with an intensity of a different sort to Joseph’s detachment but they hook up and ultimately offer each other the means of escape.

Had it not been for some clever editing this story might have been too grim to bear. Flashbacks offer exposition right up to the end as scenes quickly cut from past to present, taking a familiar scenario to a different level without feeling tricksy. The muted, claustrophobic design pales perfectly against the vivid kaleidoscope of Blackpool. Images of solitude and moments of abstract calm are interspersed to relieve the hectic pace, the music carefully chosen, the trance like cleaning scene for example was beautiful.

Themes of imprisonment, fairy tales and decay echo throughout a tight script which at one point feels a little too drawn out.  The two leads are compelling with Haley Squires and Matt Ryan delivering strong performances as Ria’s fragile sister Kaz and violent ex-boyfriend Dex, although the vision of Joseph’s wife feels intrusive and unnecessary.

Away is a film about love, trust and second chances, and although the finale feels a little ill considered, it does succeed. The film however, belongs to Juno Temple. She brings sassy humour and a subtlety to the character of Ria which is a delight to watch and keeps the film from sinking too deep.

Caroline Grebbell

Wednesday 22 June, 8.45pm, Odeon 2

Saturday 25 June, 3.20pm, Odeon 2

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