Review: Starfish

Starfish written and directed by Bill Clark shines an important light on a much misunderstood condition of sepsis or blood poisoning. This film biopic based on a true story shows the life altering impact it has on a young couple and their family when the husband contracts sepsis.

Tom Ray (played by Tom Riley) and Nicola Ray (played by Joanne Froggatt) appear to have it all – a lovely family, house, each other and a baby on the way to make four. A seemingly innocuous act of eating out of date sausages, hands up who hasn’t eaten something past its use by date, triggers an infection that leads to Tom catching sepsis due to the A&E consultant’s lack of knowledge and attention. What follows is doubly harrowing to watch given all the events in Starfish actually happened in real life. He loses parts of each of his four limbs to sepsis. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the sepsis moves to his face and, he must lose part of that in order to stay alive. Does love conquer all? Can Nicola and Tom overcome this terrible event?

Starfish is an important educational tool for those of us not aware of how sepsis is triggered or what to do if you suspect someone has it. Does this mean it deserves to be on the big screen. The answer is no. This is the perfect film for the small screen to be shown on the BBC. However, on the big screen it’s not cinematic enough to make it engaging for the entire 96 minutes. That’s not to say that the performances are not good. Tom Riley especially captivates on screen so many of his scenes the cameras rest on his eyes and he conveys so many emotions in a blink of an eye. Joanne Froggatt puts in a fine performance but the entire film feels flat. This is a biopic by numbers in reverse order so the worse is at the beginning of the film.

My recommendation is wait for it to come to the small screen.

Starfish in cinemas across the UK on Friday 28 October.

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