Second Coming begins with the dilemma that Jax (Nadine Marshall) is eight weeks into her second pregnancy, but hasn’t had intimate relations with husband Mark (Idris Elba) for ages. Since she hasn’t had an affair either, just how will she square this circle?
With their relationship falling apart, and son JJ (Kai Francis Lewis) forever at a loose end – his time briefly spent looking after an injured bird, the film spends a long time showing us the family’s background and getting to the nitty gritty of the storyline. In fact, it takes nearly an hour before we get to any kind of strong drama, which I was expecting given the plot outline, and in the meantime there’s occasional scenes which are meant to depict that she’s losing the plot, but these involve water dripping into the bathroom, eventually spraying all over the place, but it looks more like she seriously needs to get a plumber round. I really didn’t get the correlation between that and madness.
I can see that Second Coming is one of those ‘Marmite’ films, in that it’ll either sweep you along in its story, or leave you feeling like an outsider, waiting for something to happen and feeling like a standard kitchen sink drama. Both Mark Kermode and Peter Bradshaw fit the former, while I was in the latter camp.
Nadine Marshall is one of those actresses whose name may not be instantly recognisable, but when you watch this film, you’ll recognise her from a million things. Meanwhile, Idris Elba *is* instantly recognisable as well as being in a million things, but he gets to do little other than grumble a lot. On the plus side, there’s an intriguing one-take scene between Nadine and Nicola Walker from The Last Train and Spooks, who plays her counsellor.
That said, while this film didn’t work for me based on its story, I can see some filming techniques used which I’d like to see again in a film from Ms Green, such as the quick cuts between scenes and, at other times, music carrying on into a new scene, where dialogue is already happening which we can’t hear (but can get the gist of) and then the music stops dead and the dialogue can be heard from then onwards.
Conversely, and possibly ironically, it didn’t help that the dialogue wasn’t 100% clear in scenes where people COULD be heard, and it also felt a bit echoey at times so not every word could always be made out. It’s possible that that issue was down to the quality of the version available for review where, for example, the closing theme seemed to come in at the wrong time as there was just silence as the credits began.
Overall, Second Coming has an interesting premise, but is largely pedestrian in its execution. Depending on your beliefs, the title suggests a situation that can either be plausible or not.
And the biggest disappointment, I’ll have to hide behind a spoiler warning…
Second Coming is out in cinemas now, and is released on DVD on July 6th, and click on the poster for the full-size image.
Running time: 101 minutes
Studio: British Film Institute (BFI)/Film4/Hillbilly Films
Released: June 5th 2015
Director: Debbie Tucker Green
Producers: Polly Leys and Kate Norrish
Screenplay: Debbie Tucker Green
Jax: Nadine Marshall
Mark: Idris Elba
JJ: Kai Francis Lewis
Bernie: Sharlene Whyte
Sandra: Seroca Davis
Jax’s Mum: Llewella Gideon
Vincent: Larrington Walker
Counsellor: Nicola Walker
Lauryn: Janelle Frimpong
Patrick: Gershwyn Eustache Jnr
Alex: Nick Figgis
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.