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Shortly after she moves into her own flat in Brighton, Bella finds she is being spied on and generally harassed by a man living across from her. Finally driven to solving the problem with a hammer, she realises she is then ready for a crusade against other such problem males. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
All men are scum. Sweaty, sleazy, dastardly scum. At least they are according to director Michael Winner (who also wrote the film with Helen Zahavi, the writer of the original novel) for the purpose of this movie.
Lia Williams plays Bella, a woman starting a new life for herself after finding that she's been traded in for a younger model by her callous boyfriend. Already on edge, Bella breaks down when bombarded by dirty and threatening phone calls from her new neighbour (Rufus Sewell in an early role). Instead of needing medication and therapy, however, it turns out that Bella just needs some fresh air. And a number of sleazy men to exact her revenge upon.
It would seem that Michael Winner saw some kind of strange redemption in this movie, some way to atone for all the accusations levelled at him over the years. That's the only thing that makes sense, though I have not read the source novel, considering just how badly tarred and feathered (at least) the whole male side of the human race is.
Lia Williams gives a good performance in the lead role, taking her character through quite a range of emotions and responses to the world impinging on her own. Sewell is impressively creepy and cold, spouting out vitriol that would make any shy trenchcoat wearer blush. The other "notable" actors include David McCallum as an accommodating dentist, Michael Cule as someone attending a conference who can't quite believe his luck and even brief screen time for "Mike from The Young Ones" aka Christopher Ryan and Sean Pertwee.
Everything, on a technical level, is actually quite well done. The direction is alright, if unspectacular. Despite the lack of appeal in the storyline things move along well enough and there's a nice dose of macabre running through things that reminded me of the later, flailing, outings from Amicus (if you don't know of Amicus then acquaint yourselves with them immediately, genre fans).
The acting is okay, nobody stands out as being awful though it's a bit of a tightrope with the material being dealt with, and there's a surprisingly energetic soundtrack that throws in some hits from the time.
But it's just not a very good film. There's nothing much to it and no real attempt to justify the heroine's actions even if Winner and Zahavi think they've given us something interesting, witty and twisted with their slant on a one-sided "battle of the sexes". Watchable, fitfully amusing in places and eminently forgettable.
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