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dir-scr Richard Shepard
prd Jeremy Thomas
with Jude Law, Richard E Grant, Demian Bichir, Emilia Clarke, Kerry Condon, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Madalina Ghenea, Jumayn Hunter, Jordan Nash, Jeanie Gold, Philippe Pierrard, Teresa Mahoney
release UK 15.Nov.13, US 4.Apr.14
13/UK BBC 1h33
Friends reunited: Law and Grant
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Director Shepard and actor Law kick off this comical crime thriller with style, using a wildly profane monologue about the title character's genitalia. And from here is gets even funnier, but only until the demands of the plot kick in and eliminate the blackly comical subtext. What follows is a standard story with nothing much to say.
Dom (Law) has just served 12 years in prison for refusing to rat out his boss Ivan (Bichir), a Russian now living the high life in the South of France. Ivan wants to express his gratitude in person, so Dom and his friend Dicky (Grant) pay a visit that initially goes very wrong indeed. Then after patching things up things take another surprising turn that leaves Dom penniless in London looking for work from a young thug (Hunter) and trying to rekindle a relationship with his daughter Evelyn (Clarke) and her Senegalese husband (Stewart-Jarrett).
It's the plot's mid-point shift that derails the movie. Before that, Dom's hilariously blue rants are so full of literary bluster that we can't help but laugh. But when he loses everything he just seems like a moron who got what he deserved. So even if we would like him to connect with his daughter, we don't really want to see him find some miraculous way out of the mess he created.
Alas, Shepard's script is packed with implausible coincidences that further leave us cold. Through it all Law gives everything he's got, which works perfectly when Dom is on top of the world (or thinks he is) because his flowery-rude diatribes are wonderfully written and played. The fallen Dom may be more realistic, but he's deeply unlikeable. At least the actors around him add witty touches, especially with Grant's mastery of understatement and Bichir's slick charm.
But in the final act Shepard reveals his true intention with a rather sappy family values plot thread in which Dom is, of course, forced to acknowledge that some things are more important than money and honour. It's such a come-down from the much sassier opening section, and so pedestrian by comparison, that we just bide our time until the predictable ending so we can get out of the cinema.
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© 2013 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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