Straightheads is the story about a successful, controlling career woman, Alice, played by Gillian Anderson, who decides to take her young alarm man, Adam, played by Danny Dyer, on a date.
However both Adam and Alice are assaulted on the way home, following which their lives become entwined, with both obsessed with how they were hurt, unable to speak of it to others. When Alice discovers where one of the attackers lives, she persuades Adam to consider revenge.
The film is not so much about revenge as about violence, in particular how violence begets violence. It explores themes of war indirectly, including how armies protect, and fail to protect, soldiers from the dehumanising effect of perpetrating violence. Although not set in a war zone, many of the characters have a military background - including Alice's father.
It is also a film about moral contingencies, about how it is impossible to judge another's actions by absolute standards, unless you have been in the same situation.
A film about violence that failed to show that violence would be cheating, but this film is never gratuitous or voyeuristic. We understand what happened to Alice and Adam, how the attack felt, how it damaged them, by observing the aftermath it leaves behind.
Set in idyllic English countryside, the film is beautifully shot and elegantly directed.
Anderson and Dyer give brilliant, understated performances, who undergo a real journey in the course of the film. They are ably supported by the rest of the cast.
An pertinent film, that deserves viewing.