dir-scr Nick Whitfield
prd Tracy Brimm, Kate Myers, Paul Welsh
with Ed Gaughan, Andrew Buckley, Jason Isaacs, Paprika Steen, Tuppence Middleton, Josef Whitfield, Paul Dallison, Jace Desay
release UK 2.Jul.10
10/UK 1h34
Closet cleaners: Buckley and Gaughan

isaacs steen middleton

30th Shadows Awards
Jason Isaacs

london film fest
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Skeletons This surreal and quirky British comedy-drama benefits from strongly resonant performances that help us go along with the absurdist plot. It also has an intriguingly emotional tone that catches us off guard.

Davis and Bennett (Gaughan and Buckley) work for Veridical, a company that will perform "the procedure" to clean the skeletons from your closet. With access to a sort of parallel dimension, Davis and Bennett travel the country helping people expose their pasts. But while Bennett is looking forward to a promotion from their boss (Isaacs), Davis is indulging in illicit "glow-chasing", which could have serious repercussions on his life and work. When they're sent to help a woman (Steen) find her lost husband, things don't quite go to plan.

Writer-director Whitfield hones in on the comical interaction between Davis and Bennett from the start, with their offbeat conversations and hilariously obsessive methods. They are clearly close but also hardly know each other, and this creates an intriguing tension that's beautifully played by Gaughan and Buckley. It also feeds into their interaction with Isaac's prickly boss as well as Steen's eccentric earth mother. And as her children, Middleton and Whitfield both offer surprises as well.

The film echoes Being John Malkovich in its darkly humorous approach and the way everyone just accepts this bizarre world. The trippy visions are lushly shot to provoke an emotional response, while the real-life scenes are also tinged with a slightly hyper-real quality that makes the whole film feel like a dream. Even the matter-of-fact dialog adds a level of jarring banality that accents the audacity of the writing and direction.

As it continues, the film takes several imaginative twists and turns, giving the characters strong inner lives that interact in meaningful ways. There are elements of addiction and emotional trauma here, but the main theme centres on how we need to live in the real world around us and suitably confront our memories and past events. The resulting film is funny and sometimes enjoyably creepy, and perhaps a little too dry for its own good. But after the vague first act the film's resonance kicks in and holds on to us through the oddly moving finale. And it marks Whitfield as an imaginative filmmaker to watch.

cert 15 themes, language, innuendo 9.Jun.10

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Skeletons Still waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.
© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall