Still Life review – transcendent final moments

There are few faces more forlorn than that of Eddie Marsan in this painfully melancholic tale of half-lives and lonely deaths. He plays John May, a civil servant whose thankless job is to locate relatives of the recently deceased and perpetually unloved. To his superiors (and indeed everyone else), these poor unfortunates are just numbers, but John takes an all-too-personal interest in their passing – lovingly pasting their photos into his own family albums, while eating tuna and toast at home alone. Facing his final case, John embarks on an odyssey through the land of the living that brings him into contact with the fractured friends and acquaintances of a previously unnoticed neighbour. It’s touching stuff, Rachel Portman’s plaintive score plucking endearingly at our heartstrings, Marsan’s worried demeanour dripping with an almost Chaplinesque sense of pathos. For a while, it seems as though

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