Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Night at the Movies Week 18 - 44 Inch Chest

You do not have sex with Ray Winstone's wife.  That should be obvious. - Rule to Live By

When you go out to the bar with your "mates," do yourself a favor and ask "Would these guys barge into a restaurant and kidnap the man who cuckholded my woman?  Would they drag him to the middle of nowhere, toss him in a wardrobe, and stand guard while I made up my my on whether to kill him or not?"  If the answer is "no," well you've probably got some stable, but boring friends.

Me?  Yeah.  I've got a friend or two who might do that, but only because they are big fans of mayhem and guns, not my honor.  But Colin Diamond (Ray Winstone), he's got a group of friends ready to do just that, and more.  And as much as I love my gang, I'd exchange them for this batch in a second.  Sorry guys, but Meredith (Ian McShane), Archie (Tom Wilkinson), Mal (Stephen Dillane) and Old Man Peanut! (John Hurt) are just the brothers in arms I want in an emergency.   (Has a badder group of brits ever been collected on screen?  Seriously, all they are missing is Michael Gambon, Bob Hoskins and Michael Caine.)

Let's be honest.  If my friends found me on the floor, in the middle of a trashed apartment, glassy-eyed, weepy, and listening to Harry Nilsson's "I Can't Live, If Living Is Without You" on endless repeat, they'd just make fun of me.  Hell, it's what I'd do, and maybe thats exactly why I have the friends I have.  But why oh why can't just one of them be Old Man Peanut?

"You break every other fucking engagement.  Every other fucking engagement.  This takes top priority above everything.  Everything.  Everything!  Til this is done and dusted, put to bed, laid to rest, nobody does fucking nothing but this.  This is where we are.  Here. Now. This."

Once more into the breach for the modern man.

!Warning!  This movie isn't for the faint of ears.  The dreaded C word is dropped more than "and" or "the."

And with the dazzling, virtuosic use of foul language it's easy to lose sight of the incredible acting that's taking place in this film.  Each character, of which there are only a few, absolutely nails his/her character. 

So you might think you're in for a fantastic gangster/revenge film.  You'd be dead wrong.  Yes, the boyfriend is locked, bound and blindfolded in a wardrobe for half the film, but the point isn't Ray getting revenge on the man who is sleeping with his wife.  As much as I wanted to see an asswhipping, which I really did, it was more fascinating to watch Colin come to terms with the fact that his wife doesn't love him anymore.

It's no coincidence that each of Colin's friends represents a side of him, which he has neglected.  Archie is the supportive, nuturing, mild friend who whould be there in a moment for you.  Meredith is the self-confident, suave, and mostly selfish friend who is great to hang out with.  Mal is tough, borderline psychotic, and always up for a fight.  Then there is the scene stealer, Old Man Peanut.  John Hurt plays this unlikeable fellow like the father figure from hell, but damn is he watchable.  Give me a film of him ranting and I'll be there!

You've got it ladies and gentlemen, a film that is nothing but swearing and male posturing is actually a self-reflecting love story.  The story of a man who loves to much. 

This was a fantastic film.  The script by Louis Mellis and David Scinto (Sexy Beast) was incredible.  This mostly one room movie was propelled by their dialogue and characters.  And director Malcolm Venville made the most out of that one room, allowing the actors to do their thing, and skillfully interrupting with an occasional, but necessary flashback, when needed.  The man was not afraid to keep the camera on the actor's face.

If you've already seen the film, pick up the DVD.  While it's not some super deluxe edition, it does have a few worthwhile extras, including a featurette, an interview with Venville, a commentary, and epilogues.  Surprise surprise, the best one is Old Man Peanut's.

And if you haven't seen Sexy Beast, for fuck's sake go watch it.

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