Seen at Regal's Kaufman Astoria Stadium 14, auditorium #6, Monday evening March 17, 2008, 3.5 Slithy Toads, at least
Edited and possibly over-edited to within an inch of its life, this caper film is based on the true story of a bank robbery in London in which a group of thieves tunneled into a safe deposit vault and escaped with several million dollars of loot. The film ties this in to dirty pictures of Prince Margaret, a Tunisian black power activist, the uprooting of many Scotland Yard cops bribed by a porn kingpin, and more As with many movies based on true stories, my curiosity regarding the extent to which any of it is true battles with my desire to enjoy the movie as a movie and ignore any and all questions of its veracity.
It's definitely a movie that grows as it goes. The beginning was too me a little too brisk, a little too flashy, a little too much work honestly, as it introduces all of the many players bang bang bang. And there are many, many players. Half a dozen robbers, MI5 or MI6 types, politicians, cops, and more. Even worse, and this perhaps may be the movie's biggest flaw, it introduces all of these people and makes hardly any of them interesting. They're all pretty much just there. And the actors have all kinds of weird face shapes and weird voices and sometimes a lack of much charisma. I watched them all in the first 20 or 30 minutes and felt as if this movie had been created as a British Film Board employment project, to provide jobs to the second tier Brits who somehow hadn't yet found employment in a Harry Potter or Narnia movie.
However, it's energetic enough that it carries along in spite of the hollow center. The complications after the robbery, true or untrue as the case may be, when the robbers find out just who it is they robbed, are intriguing enough. And if you don't really care about the Jason Statham character or any of the others all that much, there's still a kind of literary Stockholm Syndrome at work. You're there in the theater for two hours or so, you've invested enough in the characters, there's that human gene that makes us want to listen to and tell stories, and you end up identifying with the lead characters because you don't have strength enough to resist and withhold. I know this doesn't sound like much of a rave, but I read enough books and see enough movies which fade as they go along, where the creative talent doesn't even have enough core strength to benefit from this effect, that I do mean these remarks as a positive. Not the biggest positive, but when it all comes together at 11AM at Paddington Station, I was rooting for the good guys.
The porn king is played by David Suchet. A little bit of a sidetrack to direct your attention to a movie he was in ten years back called Sunday. This is an interesting thing that's most notable for being one of the relatively few films to be filmed in my neck of the Queens woods, or at least filmed in my neck of the Queens woods for something or anything more than the waterfront view of Manhattan. It's a quirky and odd beast, and I wonder if I saw it again now if I would find it an ode to Queens past because the area sure ain't what it was ten years ago.
- The Brillig Blogger
- A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.