Brit Dogma feature “Gypo” takes a “Rashomon” approach to events that bind a working-class Kent family with Eastern Euro asylum seekers, telling the tale from three successive points-of-view. The result becomes steadily more engrossing, though the last act perhaps errs in emphasizing an out-of-nowhere lesbian romance that is the semi-improvised script’s least convincing element. Solid fest and tube item would need strong critical support to make a dent theatrically.
Helen (Pauline McLynn) is a fortysomething housewife whose children no longer need her, while surly spouse Paul (Paul McGann, a tad miscast) no longer wants her. Their daughter’s new friend, Tasha (Chloe Sirene), is a refugee from the Czech Republic who fled domestic violence with her mother (Rula Lenska). They fear their menfolk might arrive to drag them back before their anxiously awaited Brit passports can afford them legal protection. Paul’s anti-immigrant prejudices and Helen’s more-than-maternal feelings toward Tasha both influence the outcome. Film first shows Helen’s viewpoint, then Paul’s (wherein Helen is an incessant nag), then Tasha’s. Usual rough-hewn Dogma aesthetic and generally fine perfs ballast pic’s air of gritty realism, which prevails despite some shaky story aspects.