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Breathing review

A guy struggles to come to terms with his own guilt after serving time in the slammer.

“You can’t not give a shit your whole life then wonder why it sucks!”

Wise advice for inscrutable Austrian teen Roman (Thomas Schubert), who spends his (admittedly miserable) life behind bars for an act of juvenile violence, then, to make matters worse, takes a job as a morguehand.

Here he witnesses death’s many indignities while keeping the world at arm’s length – a fault this modestly absorbing film could be accused of too. Thoughtfully shot by first-time director Karl Markovics (the lead in The Counterfeiters ), the only warmth comes from the stiffening cadavers.

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Matt Glasby is a freelance film and TV journalist. You can find his work on Total Film - in print and online - as well as at publications like the Radio Times, Channel 4, DVD REview, Flicks, GQ, Hotdog, Little White Lies, and SFX, among others. He is also the author of several novels, including The Book of Horror: The Anatomy of Fear in Film and Britpop Cinema: From Trainspotting To This Is England.