Director Antonia Bird / 1997 / UK

Cutting-edge British director Antonia Bird takes on post-Thatcherite tensions with Face. At the heart of the film is Ray (Robert Carlyle, The Full Monty, Trainspotting), an educated and bitterly disillusioned armed robber. His girlfriend, Connie, runs a half-way house and his mother is deeply committed to government protests. Against a backdrop of political unrest, Ray teams up with four other professional thugs and executes the meticulously planned robbery of a money counting depot. All goes like clockwork... until they begin to tally and stash the haul. Shortchanged, with deceit, internal friction and eventually cold blooded murder dividing the team, Ray sets out to secure his cut of the loot, catch the traitor in their midst and evade a police dragnet.

Face elevates the gangster thriller beyond mere character portrait of an individual criminal. Antonia Bird's direction is tight and balanced, creating a harsh London setting of political power and personal gain overriding civic responsibility. Damon Albarn (of Brit band Blur) puts his drama training to full use as Jason, a half-hearted criminal lacking direction; Ray Winstone (Nil By Mouth) is tremendous as Carlyle's bear-like co-conspirator trying to keep a wayward daughter in check.

"It's set in the East End where I've lived for the past 20 years and it's about the people I know and care about... You could have a drink with a lot of guys I know and you'd never guess that they were involved in crime... In Face I wasn't trying to show them in a good light, but I was trying to say these are real people with real inner lives. They have the same emotional responses and needs as you or I, because that is truer to what I know." - Antonia Bird

Antonia Bird was Resident Director at the Royal Court Theatre in London before commencing to direct for television. Priest, a MIFF hit in 1995, also won the 1994 Toronto International Film Festival People's Choice Award.

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