As one of Britain's foremost film-makers and dramatists, Mike Leigh has enthralled, disturbed and provoked theatre, television and movie audiences for over 40 years. His first film, Bleak Moments premiered in 1971 to great critical acclaim, but he was not able to direct another feature film for 17 years. Instead he honed his skills on television, leaving an unrivalled legacy - from acclaimed five minute shorts to classic plays. In his television work, Mike Leigh created the style that would make him unique among film-makers. The way he deals with issues of class, race, politics and sexuality in both poignant and comic terms; his working methods of evolving films from intense improvising rehearsals, and his collaboration with great actors - including Alison Steadman, Liz Smith, Lesley Manville, Phil Davis, David Threlfall, Brenda Blethyn and Stephen Rea - make his work instantly recognisable.
lacking in character
- Mike Leigh at the BBC: Nuts in May / The Kiss of Death review by CP Customer
Has the usual careful emphasis on character, interaction, class, comedy and pathos of Leigh's later films. However there was too little plot to keep us properly entertained. Worse than this, the characters were all hard to sympathise with, and fairly caricatured. The more rounded development of character in later Leigh films was missing: it was harder to see the character's faults in the light of the struggles of their lives. Perhaps the comedy itself suffered due to the lack of tragedy. And this meant that the film lacked the depth of others such as Secrets & Lies, High Hopes, and Vera Drake.