After receiving a screening at FrightFest, way back in 2011, The Glass Man is finally getting a UK release, as it heads to digital download from December 7th.
Andy Nyman stars as Martin, a businessman whose day is about to go from bad to much, much worse. It all starts off in a seemingly normal way, with Martin preparing for just another day at the office. He heads into the kitchen, wearing a smart suit and favourite watch, where wife Julie (Neve Campbell, with an English accent that completely took me by surprise but is actually rather convincing) is there waiting for him. They talk, watch some breakfast TV, and then Martin takes the packed lunch his wife has made for him, kisses her goodbye and heads off to work.
But when Martin arrives at his office in the city, we learn that he was actually fired some time ago, only coming in now to pick up a reference letter from the HR department. We don’t know why he was fired, but all of the staff have been told not to talk to, or even look at him. And when he voices his disappointment at having been given a less than glowing reference, he is balled out in the middle of the office, in front of everyone, by his ex-manager.
Outside and things don’t get any better for Martin. He has multiple credit cards declined while trying to shop, discovers that his bank balance is now at zero, and after scraping together a couple of quid to treat himself to ice cream, is bullied/mugged into giving up his favourite watch. Martin is living a lie, and wife Julie is oblivious to everything thanks to his convincing deception. Falsely accusing Martin of having an affair following an innocent voicemail message is their only marital problem as far as Julie is concerned, and after they argue, she takes a couple of sleeping tablets before heading off to bed.
And then there’s a knock at the front door. A tall, broad, no-nonsense cockney debt collector called Pecco (James Cosmo) enters the house and offers Martin a choice – lose everything he has in order to pay off his debts, risking Julie finding out, or accompany Pecco on a little job that he’s planning on carrying out that night (“something needs doing” as he puts it). Having already dug himself this far into a hole, and with Julie now out for the count for the rest of the night, Martin reluctantly chooses the latter option.
What follows is an extremely riveting late-night road trip, as Martin drives Pecco into the city and then out into the woods in order to carry out the “something” that needs doing. It’s not clear for a while what that something actually is, and it wasn’t until much later on, following a series of crazy twists and turns that, to be honest, I never saw coming, that things begin to fall into place.
Written and directed by actor Cristian Solimeno, who also stars as Martin’s movie star friend, I found The Glass Man to be a riveting psychological drama, thanks to some great performances from its two male leads. Andy Nyman plays the everyman role perfectly, unravelling before our eyes before eventually becoming completely unhinged, while James Cosmo is just effortlessly calm, threatening and mysterious. It’s just a real shame that Neve Campbell is so underused.
Despite its original 2011 release, The Glass Man truly is a tale for our times. With the pandemic currently causing economic pressure and unemployment for so many, life continues to bear down harder and harder on the average man and woman. Just a couple of hours before watching The Glass Man, my local news was reporting on workers struggling to make ends meet as businesses go under and times get harder. I’m sure there will be many who, like Martin, try their hardest to continue living a normal life until they cannot bear the strain any longer, and they break.
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