Seen through a window from afar the life of businessman Martin Pyrite seems to glitter, with his beautiful wife Julie who makes him coffee and prepares is lunch as he descends from the top floor bedroom of their London townhouse, watching their movie star friend interviewed on breakfast television as he prepares for the drive to his office in the city and she heads to the annual general meeting of her children’s charity.
Behind the mask, the glitter is that of fool’s gold, Martin having been sacked from his job in finance and held fully responsible for the indiscretion which may have exposed the company to litigation by his former boss and colleagues, unable even to get a letter of reference, overdrawn at the bank, his credit cards maxed out and the mortgage over £10,000 in arrears.
Looking through that window and watching the spreading cracks in Martin’s life is Pecco, a gangland moneylender who has transferred a defaulted debt owed to him by a mutual acquaintance onto Martin who he sees as easy to intimidate; the debt can be negotiated if Martin will assist him in a few errands, driving him around the town and the country, paying a few visits, collecting a few items, digging a few holes in the damp earth of the forest…
Written and directed by Cristian Solimeno who also appears as Martin’s childhood friend Toby Huxley, The Glass Man was premiered in August 2011 at FrightFest but has been caught in an infuriating tangle of distribution rights which strangely echo the nightmare of Martin’s evening, frantically paddling to keep afloat in a storm of circumstance which a brave face can no longer weather.
The notion of truth a slippery concept, Automata’s Andy Nyman is Martin, Walter Mitty caught in the horror of Fight Club, retreating into a comfort of crumbling fantasy even as his defences are washed away by the cynical and unsentimental Pecco, In Darkness’ James Cosmo menacing a man almost twenty years his junior as effortlessly as he towers over him.
The structure and style reflected in Nyman’s own Ghost Stories, like that film the audience is usually several steps ahead of the narrative and it is difficult to have sympathy for someone so spineless and pliant, but making the best of the limited means with long takes and secluded settings, dead spaces within the supposed safety of urban environments, The Glass Man is uncomfortable viewing, a spiralling tragedy whose themes return like the tide regardless of the lag between production and release.
The Glass Man will be released on UK digital platforms on Monday 7th December