Written and directed by David Farr, The Ones Below is a piercing London fable about neighbours, urban living, property and envy. It’s refreshingly upscale, in that our feuding, upper-middle class couples live in the same, beautifully converted Islington house.
Stephen Campbell Moore and Clemence Poesy are upstairs, excited about the arrival of a baby. David Morrissey and his statuesque blonde wife (Laura Birn) have just moved into the garden flat – and have given the “Jardin” a bit of a European makeover.
The couples try to make friends with each other but petty jealousies develop, differences of opinion and lifestyle that fizzle up like poisonous air through the cracks in the aged, varnished floorboards.
There are elements of Polanski (from Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby to Carnage) here and, while the tension ratchets up, the performances excel, Poesy eye-catchingly frazzled and brittle, Morrissey menacing in his stillness and colourful V-neck jumper selections.
Farr enjoyed great success writing The Night Manager adaptation and The Ones Below cements his reputation as a talent of impressive skill, in film, TV and theatre.
I heartily recommend The Ones Below, although maybe not if a smiling couple have just moved in downstairs…
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