Ken Loach/Paul Laverty hand wringing about an ex-soldier who probes the death of a Scouse pal contracting in Iraq.
It didn’t quite gel together despite some nice hard man emoting by NotBobby Womack (the thinking man’s Stath?).
Loach’s improv workshop process landed us with stilted interactions (and not of the realistic type) once again, and we even had a Liverpudlian non-professional actor screeching “calm down mate” when things started to get fruity.
Some nice touches though – the golf line, the not giving us a path of heroic revenge (massively signposted though it was), Womack’s performance. A semi-decent part for Geoff Bell as well (he’s like Frank Harper, gives excellent screen flavour when appropriately deployed).
Oh, and thanks Ken for letting us know that (I) war is, mmmkay, bad; (ii) Iraq is full of culture and sensitive people; (iii) ex-SAS dudes keep a copy of The SAS Survival Handbook under their beds.
The first theatrical feature from Mike Figgis, and it’s an assured British take on American crime noir. Well, whilst it’s set in Newcastle, there’s yanks all over the shop, and conveniently it takes place against a backdrop of ‘America Week’.
Sean Bean is a no-cash-in-his-pocket wandering loner, who gets a job as a cleaner at a club run by shady Sting. He befriends gangster’s moll Melanie Griffith, and discovers a plot involving American hood Tommy Lee Jones. Some Poles play avant-garde jazz.
Not outstanding, but certainly diverting.
The Way Back
A multinational band of gulag escapees flees Siberia and heads for the Himalayas on foot.
Frankly it’s a tedious bore. Oooh, it’s a bit cold! Oooh, it’s a bit hot! Oooh, I’m so thirsty! Oooh, we’ve not got any food! Etc.
Peter Weir directs, but it’s basically a bunch of beautifully photographed National Geographic vistas (well, they did stump up the cash for the film) linked together by Scenes Of Moderate Peril that feature a bunch of not-quite-familiar actors, like Jim Sturgess (Martin McGartland in tout drama Fifty Dead Men Walking).
Oh, plus Colin Farrell, who gurns in a mortgage performance as a rotten-toothed, badly tattooed common crim – until his agent phones him up halfway through with a better deal. At least Ed Harris lasts the length of it (and it is long – two and a quarter hours). Ed appears to have had authentic despair sandblasted into his face in readiness for the role. At least that shows commitment.
Definitely the scenic route. Feel free to bring a packed lunch.