Starring Eddie Marsan as John May, a council worker who deals with tracking down families, friends or acquaintances of people who have dies lonely deaths so that they may receive a decent burial and send off, moves along at its own downbeat pace without ever becoming pedestrian. Uberto Passolini manages to convey something of the mundane atmosphere of his protagonists lonely existence and to this end he does a highly effective job.
What the film focuses on as a central point though is loneliness and how modern life, society and the breakdown of traditional structures all have a knock on effect. I suppose your relationship with this film will hinge on your own viewpoints as to whether the breakdown of traditional values is a good or bad thing but one thing that becomes clearer and clearer throughout is that loneliness is not exclusive to people who live on their own.
There is also a slight lilting humour acting as a constant undercurrent throughout the duration of this film and it is a wry smile to yourself type of humour as opposed to any laugh out loud type moments. In this it is effective in letting the viewer sit back and consider what has been said and just how poignant it actually is.
Not a film for the adrenaline junkies however but Still Life ambles along unobtrusively enough and makes its points highly efficiently. In this it succeeds where maybe bigger and bolder films don’t.