The Times

"Herdman makes every gesture true. An effortless, naturalistic presence on screen, this actor deserves more of a spotlight. As soon as possible."

Morning Star

"Mason is brilliantly played by Martin Herdman. He creates a character so utterly real that all too frequently I had to remind myself that writer and debuting director Mark Gillis’s riveting feature is fictional and not a credible documentary.... he tells his story with utter credibility and, better still, welcome humour. Extraordinary talents on both sides of the camera"

Total Film

"Shades of I Daniel Blake...Deftly acted, it's a warm and funny watch."

The Independent

"Mark Gillis’s debut feature is in the best tradition of British low-budget social realism. shares the anger and the humour found in Loach’s film. ..Herdman’s Micky is an immensely likeable figure..the type of working class everyman that you could imagine Bob Hoskins playing a generation ago. .... ..Writer-director Gillis rarely resorts to crude polemic but the film makes it very clear that the system is rotten to the core if a man like Micky can be discarded so easily"

The Guardian

"This likable, well-intentioned neorealist drama has shades of Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake there’s a lot to enjoy here...affecting drama."

The Movie Waffler

"Gillis confounds expectations at every turn, twisting the well-worn tropes of gritty British kitchen sink cinema to deliver one of the most genuine and heartfelt portrayals of working class life I've ever seen. It's anchored by what might be the year's most endearing central performance from Martin Herdman."

Financial Times

"Mark Gillis’s film is an endearing, mellifluous woof from Bulldog Britain. ...The underdog hero is played by Martin Herdman with a sad-funny affability."

Little White Lies

"Makes you proud to be British. ..a constantly charming affair. Refreshing to watch a film about the UK’s job market crisis that refuses to resort to manufactured martyrdom. ..the final stretch’s jolt into thriller territory is expertly weighted, mustering moments of blistering (and blisteringly unexpected) tension. Gillis has gifted a voice to those caught in a rut while the world moves on without them."


"This involving drama is firmly rooted in the social realist tradition...Gillis captures the mood and argot of daily life without resorting to melodrama... Herdman excels ..empathetic, everymannish vulnerability"

Flickering Myth

"..a rich seam of comedy.. as an evocation of working class life, Gillis gets every aspect spot on. ...Herdman’s performance never dips below the incredibly impressive heights he sets early on."

Reform Magazine

Magnificent performances from a terrific cast ...deserves to be widely seen, highlighting as it does the human and social cost of how people at the bottom of the pile are treated in contemporary Britain. Thoroughly engaging and not without humour...Put it at the top of your list.

The Digital Fix

"..told with a compassion and humour grounded in real empathy ...Appropriately raw..honest storytelling...A director who will hopefully be given more opportunities to develop his craft"

Eye For Film

"There's much here that recalls Ken Loach's I, Daniel Blake, but Mark Gillis' film takes a very different direction and is, in its way, much more subversive. ...Herdman is superb in the central role, ..engaging, uncompromising, a real treat"


"The film is raw and real with many laugh-out-loud moments. It manages to get under the skin without being parsimonious. Working from a light, tight screenplay by director/actor Mark Gillis. Don’t miss it."


"This year’s I, Daniel Blake"

Nothing in the Rulebook

There is always a sense of excitement in watching a film debut. We live in an increasingly homogenised culture in which it seems the only movies released at cinemas are sequels, prequels, reboots or copies of movies that are copies of other successful movies. So to see a genuinely original movie is truly thrilling.

..What makes this film all the more visceral is the fierce plainness with which it is told. It has passion and directness coupled with a darkly comic streak that exposes the Orwellian nature of this bureaucratic world. There are also moments of genuine tension that leave you with a tight chest and on the edge of your seat – a sure sign of real film-making talent.

..Blessed with exceptional performances from the cast, particularly Martin Herdman as Micky, and Ian Hogg as Sam, along with a fine script and direction, Sink gets under the skin in a way precious few films do these days (Associate Producer Mark Rylance says you will find yourselves “immersed” in it). Crucially, it gives a vibrant voice to protagonists who have otherwise lost their language and their power; and so serving a very necessary level of kitchen sink realism to a world and society that seems increasingly ignorant of reality.

Try the Other Guy

..A thought provoking film that undoubtedly captures the situation of many people in the UK today. Director Mark Gillis has crafted a strong and truthful film that not only entertains but also provokes reactions and raises questions. What would we do in Micky’s situation? How do we judge him? What is it that we value as a society?

..Don’t expect Sink to be a depressing state of affairs. There are wonderful wry touches to bring a smile and some lovely laugh out loud moments, one in particular I shan't spoil here but suffice to say, it is just perfect.

Equally strong female performances... Tracey Wilkinson portrays Lorraine to perfection, making you yearn for the pair to make a go of things.

..A recommendation is not complete without a nod to the music performed by Oliver Hoare and The Late Great, which clips in to the film so perfectly. It stays with you long after the closing credits.


Portrays the lives of working people in Britain with a gritty and natural eye. Shows how our system can act to punish those who need help. A thought provoking, raw debut feature. A director to look out for.

East End Film Festival

“A deeply prescient film in these politically charged times, Sink surfs its kitchen sink realism with humour and style - an important debut by writer/director Mark Gillis”