Colin (a brilliant Neil Maskell) has rented a stately country home for his extended family’s New Year celebrations. He’s the centre of attention – though not always pleasantly so – until his estranged brother David (Sam Riley) unexpectedly arrives.
David’s appearance, after a five-year absence, throws the family dynamic far off orbit.
Wheatley’s skill with drama and characterisation has been in evidence since his early features Down Terrace and Kill List, but it’s a delight to see it go full frontal here, brought to life by an ensemble so uniformly good it makes name checking only a few feel perverse.
Although Joe Cole, Mark Monero, Charles Dance, Hayley Squires, Asim Chaudhry, Doon Mackichan and Bill Paterson have particularly meaty roles.
Shot in under two weeks, Happy New Year, Colin Burstead. has the dynamism and veracity of early Dogme 95, with Wheatley, his actors and regular cinematographer Laurie Rose achieving a thrilling symbiosis.
Do we have enough booze? Who’s got the tunes? Who invited her? What is uncle wearing? Anyone who has lived through an increasingly drunken and disastrous big family ‘do’ will hoot – and cringe – in recognition.
As part of BFI London Film Festival’s partnership with AGE UK, £5 tickets are available for senior citizens for all pre-5pm matinee performances. For full details please visit the LFF website