"Crucially for a film so focused on character the performances are brilliant across the board"
Set amidst an Anglo-Caribbean family in London, Second Coming tells the story of Jackie Trent (Nadine Marshall). When we first meet her we discover that she is pregnant but as the film unfolds, it’s revealed that all is not as it seems. Thought to be baron after the birth of her 11 year old son JJ, she hasn’t slept with husband Mark (Idris Elba) in months and nor has she been unfaithful…
The debut feature from play-write debbie tucker green, this is a film rich on subtlety and theme that, despite some overt religious overtones to the plot itself, feels very much set in the real world. It shares some DNA with kitchen sink dramas such as Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (and one subplot nods towards Kes) with green’s handheld style and shots of the family taking part in everyday life keeping the audiences wonderings on the explanations of the plot neatly aloof. We meet no third party outside the marriage that could be the father, and have only Jackie’s visions of rain in the bathroom and occasional nosebleeds suggest anything other worldly might be going on.
Crucially for a film so focused on character the performances are brilliant across the board. Idris Elba is the only truly recognisable face and brings the necessary range to the confused and torn Mark. Yet Marshall is a revelation here as the confused, somewhat depressed Jackie, demonstrating a masterclass of low key, emotional acting.
Admittedly, Second Coming does feel somewhat slow at times with some of the longer takes seemingly trying to bring the emotion of the situation to the fore. However a key dramatic development brilliantly carries the film into its pivotal third act, and where lesser films could fall down getting bogged down with resolutions, this stands up tall, managing to keep the subtlety that serves it so well throughout.