Welcome to Collinwood
3 out of 5 stars
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There's a daft vibe to this film that disarms criticism; even though the it's rather uneven, it's still quite entertaining. Collinwood is a rundown section of Cleveland, and this is where we find our cast of outcasts. When Cosimo (Guzman) is thrown in jail for a bungled car theft, his cellmate gives him the job of a lifetime (aka, a Bellini), so he asks his girlfriend (Clarkson) to find him a fall guy (aka, a Mullinski) so he can do the job. But they hire failed boxer Pero (Rockwell), who takes on the job himself with a group of second-rate thieves: nervy single dad Riley (Macy), suave gentleman Leon (Washington), handsome youngster Basil (Davoli), jittery arthritic Toto (Jeter), crippled safe-cracker Jerzy (Clooney). If there's something that can go wrong, it will.

And this is where the film gets on our nerves, because everything goes horribly, ludicrously wrong from the start. Some of this is quite hilarious, while other scenes make you roll your eyes in quiet desperation because it feels more like a silly movie device than part of the story. These are lowlife cartoon characters with little or no brains, not real people, so it's impossible to engage with them at all. We just sit back and watch, sometimes laugh, and enjoy the full range of humour from subtle wit to broad slapstick, with wry irony thrown in here and there. The dialog is great fun ("I need a Mullinski so I can pull my Bellini!" or "This Bellini is starting to look like a Kaputchnik!") and the big caper sequence is very wacky indeed. The Russo brothers keep the whole film finely tuned with excellent design work and vibrant music adding to the carefully constructed atmosphere. But they also abandon some of their best material (for example, Riley's omnipresent baby is screaming out for a serious gag, not just a moment of overwhelming cuteness). And to be honest, it's just not all that original, really.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 30.Oct.02 lff

dir-scr Joe & Anthony Russo
with William H Macy, Sam Rockwell, Isaiah Washington, Andrew Davoli, George Clooney, Michael Jeter, Luis Guzman, Patricia Clarkson, Jennifer Esposito, Gabrielle Union, David Warshofsky, Ray Calabrese
release US 4.Oct.02;UK 25.Apr.03
Warners 02/US 1h25

Losers. Macy, Washington and, Rockwell play three seriously bumbling thieves...

LONDON FILM FESTIVAL

macy rockwell
clarkson clooney

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... five guys, one safe, no brains "Terrible! Don't waste your time on this." --Mark Higson, Fleetwood, Lancs 5.May.03
2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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