Nocturnal review: Peaky Blinders’ Cosmo Jarvis ‘steals’ kitchen-sink drama

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Less is often more in cinema and this is certainly the style that director Nathalie Biancheri takes in her stride for the kitchen-sink drama Nocturnal.

The film follows a hulking and quiet painter-decorator named Pete (Cosmo Jarvis), who lives in a small seaside town in Yorkshire.

Engaging in a casual sexual relationship with a local woman and then flirting with a local student, one day Pete becomes obsessed with a teenager named Laurie (Lauren Coe), who has just moved to her mother’s (Sadie Frost) home town after living in Ireland and is struggling to fit in.

Approaching this cynical girl as she runs at a racing track, Pete strikes up a friendship with her, but the truth of their increasingly strong relationship masks a secret of Pete’s that could change their connection forever.

Cosmo Jarvis stars as the brooding handyman Pete in Nocturnal
(Image: Wildcard Distribution)

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For much of the film, the underlying tension and suspense is built around the ambiguous nature of Pete and Laurie’s relationship.

As Laurie seems to fall increasingly into adoration of the quietly masculine Pete, the audience feels unease that this could be a dark tale of grooming and abuse.

However, half-way through the film, Biancheri lets us in on Pete’s motivations but exploits the dramatic irony as Laurie remains none-the-wiser, setting the scene for a painful and enlightening explosion of honesty.

What is the nature of Pete and Laurie's relationship?
(Image: Wildcard Distribution)

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Exploring a naturalistic style in the vein of British realism, this technically-competent first-time feature from Biancheri is not ground-breaking but is certainly sensitive and leans on its talented performers and bleak coastal surroundings.

Its star Cosmo Jarvis offers the brooding but almost innocent masculinity he has harnessed for Peaky Blinders, Calm with Horses and Lady Macbeth in the strong, silent but secretly very sensitive Pete.

Jarvis' performance gradually gains more colour to it as the film continues as we finally discover what makes Pete tick, enabling the actor to steal the film.

Cosmo Jarvis steals the film with his strong, silent brand of masculinity
(Image: Wildcard Distribution)

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Meanwhile, Lauren Coe charms with her brittle output as the isolated Laurie, offering a generous turn for a young performer, but sadly co-star Sadie Frost is somewhat sidelined despite holding such an important role in Laurie’s life and later events in the tale.

Thankfully, viewers will feel moved by the film’s windswept climax despite this and the film never truly surprising us with what it offers.

On the whole, Nocturnal is a strong addition to this year’s roster of British cinema, primarily thanks to its committed lead turn from its male lead.


Nocturnal is a well-acted kitchen sink drama that shows off Cosmo Jarvis’ brooding masculine charisma.

Nocturnal is released in cinemas and on Curzon Home Cinema on September 18, 2020.

What is your favourite turn from Cosmo Jarvis so far? Let us know in the comments below.

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