VIDEO CAPSULE: The Debt Collector (9/10)
THE DEBT COLLECTOR 1999
Directed by Anthony Neilson
The Debt Collector is a brilliant study of one man's attempt to escape his past without fully paying for his sins and one man's obsession which eventually takes over his life. Nicky Dryden (Billy Connelly) is the man with the past, a vicious debt collector. Keltie (Ken Stott) is the cop who ensnares him and puts him away. When Dryden is released he starts to make a name for himself as an artist and marries a beautiful reporter. Keltie cannot bear to see a man like Dryden living a lifestyle like that after all the horror he created. Dryden of course is a reformed man but is haunted by his past. His wife Val (Francesca Annis) seems to be the only one who understands. All Keltie had is his mother (Annette Crosbie) who is starting to suffer from dementia. When Keltie seeks revenge on Dryden on behalf of all his victims it becomes an obsession. Then Flipper (Iain Robertson) a young thug who hero-worships Dryden, becomes the catalyst for tragic events to unfold and nobodies life is untouched. You will never see a more intense study of obsession. The closest film comparison would be TAXI DRIVER, but that is the story of a loner. The men in Debt Collector both have responsibilities toward family and that is the source of the tragedy in the film. The performances are brilliant, Connelly, Stott, Robertson and Annis are perfect, with Stott deserving a special mention for creating one of the most complicated characters in Scottish Screen History. The Direction is tight, Neilson never once showing his TV roots. This is a film well worth seeking out.