Movies: Cherry Tree Lane **
Despite the fact that this is among the most gratuitously unpleasant films I've been required to sit through this year, Paul Andrew Williams' Cherry Tree Lane is apparently considered by some to be arthouse, because it's playing at the Irish Film Institute for the next week.
Williams, who made his name four years back with London to Brighton, is reliably miserable, and if ever he makes a happy film we'll be asking for our money back. No such problems here, because after an uneventful opening sequence, Cherry Tree Lane is relentlessly horrible.
Rachael Blake and Tom Butcher play Mike and Christine, a well-to-do, middle-aged London couple who are just settling down to a TV dinner when their home is invaded by three violent, angry youths.
It seems their son has been mixing with the wrong crowd, and the invaders blame him for the conviction and imprisonment of an associate.
They tie up the couple and wait for the son to return, but one of the three is a touchy and ultra-violent loose cannon, who soon begins to take an unwholesome interest in the woman.
We've seen all this before, in Michael Haneke's Funny Games, and much more besides, and Cherry Tree Lane adds absolutely nothing new to the mixture.
It's a well-made, bad-spirited piece of nihilism, which mixes gratuitous nastiness with unsubtle sneers at bourgeois mores.