The first words we hear Gerard Johnson's title character utter to someone in his debut film, Tony, are "Hello, are you all right?" and from the moment we see him, we know he is not. He's an amalgamation of every awkward and repressed person we've ever met, but that doesn't stop Tony from reaching out to make a connection with anyone and everyone who will listen to him. That is, when he isn't being knocked down, taken advantage of, or pushed out the door. He finds comfort in the company of druggies (one who spots the "bleeders" from the "leaders"), hookers (for just a "cuddle") and gay club boys, who all seem to satisfy his need to go through the motions of "normal" social behavior: being polite by shaking hands and then offering drinks or snacks before he strangles them and props them up like dolls in his morbid collection.
Tony is as forgotten as the world he inhabits: the vertical slums of London, the neon thrall of the red light district and the murky channels he wanders when disposing of the bodies he methodically packages like meat. Thanks to Johnson's script and the stellar performance of Peter Ferdinando (someone please give this guy more work), there are plenty of dark, comedic moments in Tony's life. Things like his obsession with violent action films on VHS (he quotes First Blood to a victim moments before ... ), cleverly timed (and often awkward) conversations with people and corpses alike inject levity into an overwhelmingly grim reality. Complementary to this is Matt Johnson's haunting score, which punctuates every moment perfectly while remaining organic and unobtrusive. Similar is the photography which uses the natural light of the city landscape as its focal point. Johnson occasionally contrasts this with a more theatrical tone using the same naturalistic elements (a street sign, an elevator, etc.) and the effect is striking.