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Without You (2003)

After murdering his girlfriend and putting her corpse in the boot of his car, James foolishly allows his car to be stolen. On his way home on the bus James sees his car outside a pub and ... See full summary »


Julian Simpson


Andrew Kirk


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Complete credited cast:
Lennie James ... James
Nicola Stephenson Nicola Stephenson ... Jess
Stephen Graham ... Billy
Vanessa Rosenthal Vanessa Rosenthal ... Betty
Bernard Padden Bernard Padden ... Petrol Attendant


After murdering his girlfriend and putting her corpse in the boot of his car, James foolishly allows his car to be stolen. On his way home on the bus James sees his car outside a pub and rushes to confront the thief. Billy, the thief beats him up and drives off leaving his girlfriend Jess behind. In a nearby café James and Jess make a deal to recover the car from Billy. James steals back his car and takes Jess back to his flat. Leaving her safely there James resumes his deadly purpose so rudely interrupted earlier by the theft of his car. Written by Mark Smith <msmith@osi.co.uk>

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Crime | Drama | Short







Release Date:

12 February 2003 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

BBC Drama Group See more »
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User Reviews

Stylish and swish with a satisfyingly bleak end
11 August 2010 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

After murdering his wife, James puts her body in the boot of his car and sets out to find a place to dump her body. He has to make a stop at a petrol station in order to load up with a fiver worth of petrol but leaves his keys in the car when he goes to pay and his car is stolen before he can get back to it. He gets a bus in the vague direction of the stolen car and manages to find it in the possession of Billy. James goes to Billy's downtrodden girlfriend Jess for help but finds himself with more than he bargained for.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this film – the plot summary on the title page (and even my summary above) make it sound like some sort of dark caper comedy and indeed I wasn't totally sure what it was until the end of the film. Up until this point the film had been interesting but had been a little unsatisfying as I wasn't totally convinced by the side issue of Jess' story – however this is sidelined by a final two minutes that twist everything you have seen before. It isn't a massive twist that will shock you but it is a gentle one of perception that worked pretty well, certainly well enough for me to end the short feeling satisfied with the story.

The short is delivered with a good dark sense of style. The direction is very good and uses simple shots pretty well – special mention should also go to whoever scouted out the locations and they use the city of Leeds very well and also have found some good flats and restaurants to set scenes in. The soundtrack has it's obvious moments but generally it is a good selection that is well used throughout – some of it was very good and it put me in the mood to hunt some of it down. The cast also do well, although Lennie James is easily the best role in it – he is required to murder someone within the first few seconds of the short but do it without losing the audience's support or interest – he does it very well and he makes the short work. Stephenson's character wasn't that good and her performance couldn't do anything to change that despite being pretty good. Graham is a basic lad – no, this is James' short and he commands it very well.

Overall this film isn't what I expected but it was better than I expected. It has weaknesses that were bothering me throughout but I felt that the bleak twist towards the end was a satisfying end and changed my perspective on the film and the characters. I doubt that this would work as well if I sat to watch it a second time but as a punchy, memorable short I thought this delivered the goods – and even made me see the goods in a different light thanks to a nice touch at the end.

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