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|Index||23 reviews in total|
A gross and garish movie whose clumsy editing, cheapskate production values and dire lighting are its only memorable features. A lot of acting talent is wasted in this truly execrable work. The director took a powerful, compelling and blackly comic novel and artistically trashed it. Best advice: Forget the film. Read the book.
Controversial? What's the big deal? Sure it comes across as tasteless, perverse and unsavoury, but really the underlining black humour in the smarting script and a revenge fantasy layout does mildly soften the savage intentions. When released; the British (sort-of) feminine vigilante 'Dirty Weekend' caused a real uproar. I seen it labelled as pornographic, but it doesn't really come close. It can get dark, daring and nasty, but never arouses. The raving screenplay by Michael Winner and Helen Zahavi (which it's based upon her novel) is lyrically intrusive, can be offbeat, grotesque (you'll know when) and wears its feminist liberation proudly. Surprisingly I thought it was well thought out even with some patchy inclusions and silly developments. However the absurdity it succumbs to makes for an uneven balance between the humour and serious matter. The waxing between the characters was always amusing, especially when the tables are finally turned. Watching the vulnerable nature of our single female protagonist slowly transform and breathe growing confidence (going from a shivering victim to a sardonic murderer) is done in a wonderfully hardy portrayal by Lia Williams. Some might finde her superficially bland, but I found her suitably incisive. The majority of the men come off as filth, unpleasant and sleazy. David McCallum is substantially good as the fractious dentist and Rufus Sewell is fairly unnerving as the grubby pervert. Sean Pertwee also gets a taste of his own medicine. Director Michael Winner's frank handling is gusty and his sledgehammer approach productively works along side the no-holds barred material. Sometimes the way it was shot it felt like a cheap TV movie. Mainly due to the editing. While the crude violence has a malicious streak, it isn't overly explicit or even convincing, but it can evoke severity. David Fanshawe's eclectically uncanny and soulful music score is an odd one to behold. At times it has a majestic air, but other cues are a complete mess. Interesting low-brow and misogynistic exploitation nonetheless.
This movie concentrates on one character (Bella) who decides to stop being a victim and go on the offensive. She takes out all the right people and all in a surreal fashion. I thought this was going to be a low-budget cheap-shot movie but was pleasantly surprised.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A fat man, naked and, yes, ugly in his fatness, gives the heroine of this film two slaps for laughing at him in his nakedness. For that he gets a plastic bag over his head and is asphyxiated. Other men in this film treat the heroine worse but are not killed, for instance like the elderly scholar that dumps her. The whole point of the movie, if there was one, was that the viewer should be able to sympathize with the heroine, the way we did with Charles Bronson in "Death Wish". But how can we sympathize with pure fascism? Take away the scene with the fat man and you have, actually, a film that is decently indecent. Michael Winner is naughty and when he is that at the expense of power, everything is OK. This is only partly so here. Being naughty with the poor and downtrodden (like fat people) is decidedly not OK and a sure sign for bad character.
A reverse gender "Death Wish" has doe-eyed Lia Williams as Bella, who
encounters several oversexed, repulsive men, who are all interested in
one thing (and it ain't football!). Hard to believe that director
Winner actually made a handful of decent films in the early seventies,
because this film is offensively stupid and violent with giant lapses
in logic and character motivation. Every male character (=caricature)
is presented as a horny git, who eventually suffers Bella's revenge,
but so what? After the Death Wish sequels, Bullseye, Parting Shots and
now this, Winner should definitely NOT quit his day job as a restaurant
0 (of ****)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
WARNING: REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
Any film with the words "Michael" and "Winner" in close proximity has to have a touch of class. This is no more true than with Dirty Weekend, a feminist empowerment film where Lia Williams gets her tits out and kills lots of men. The complex ethical debates of a vigilante lifestyle are ably challenged ("I thought you could be gentle in the jungle" Lia argues at one point) and Winner shows an innate and emphatic understanding of the female psyche. Lines like "all men are stronger than me" shows a man instinctively in touch with a feminine side.
Comprising an OTT soundtrack that wouldn't sound out of place in 30s Hollywood with a script that was less written, more sh*t onto paper, this is genius filmmaking all the way through. Helmed with the directorial panache of an anal cyst and populated by actors cut out of a Cornflakes packet, this is a genuine modern classic. See the interview scene set to "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)" by Dead or Alive! Thrill to the trite overdubbed narration! Joy to the sloppy camera angles and grimy film stock! Gasp at the thespic constipation of Lia Williams!
The plot, of course, is razor sharp. Within a day of being dumped by a roguish love rat (who utters "Toodle pip!" as a send-off) Bella (Williams) is getting dirty phonecalls from a nutcase who lives opposite. In order to protect herself she sees an Iranian clairvoyant played by Ian Richardson (I'm not making this up). He "opens up possibilities" by giving her a switchblade.
However, she's put off when the nutter (Rufus Sewell, the only cast member to maintain dignity), tells her he's got a bottle of acid. So alarmed is she by this development that Williams's acting skills go into overdrive and she looks like a woman who forgot to buy an extra carton of milk from the greengrocer's. To rectify the situation she goes over to his house, accompanied by a jaunty country theme, and caves his head in with a hammer. Cut to a couple of scenes later and she's fantasising about bazookas and flame-throwers. (No, I'm really not making this up). Unsuccessful, she's approached by a Mr. Brown in the middle of the street who, for £400, sells her a "shooter". The story then dovetails into a scene where she gets a genuine desire for an obese man (Michael Cule, awful) with breasts and lets him take her from behind. A sophisticated exchange then takes place after he accidentally places himself up her anus, then loses his erection. After laughing at his impotence, he beats her, because, well, you know, all men are scum. To make up for this, she places a plastic bag over his head to suffocate him.
However, this leaves her with a chipped tooth, so she goes to the dentist to put it right. Unfortunately for Bella, her dentist is a psychotically Cockney David McCallum, who forces her to perform oral sex in a car park, with a "I hope you're hungry, cos it's time for din-dins. Open wide!"
Even old bag women aren't safe from the ubiquitous rapists that are men. When a rape gang (made up of Jon Pertwee's son and Mike from The Young Ones) come across her, they decide who'll get to perform the deed with a curt "let's have a look at granny's fanny." Fortunately, Bella is on the case and shoots them all in cold blood. After her killing spree, she chucks away her "shooter" into the sea. Less fortunately for her, a rapist has been watching her (they're everywhere, you see) and forcibly enters her with a helpful "that's my fist." Luckily, Bella's still got her unused switchblade from the Iranian, so she stabs him eight times in an amusement arcade. What a galling load of misogynistic tripe.
Winner apologists will probably say this is an ironic black comedy. I must admit, I did laugh lots... though probably not for any of the reasons the film's makers intended. Class. Absolute, 100% pure class. 2/10.
Despite having a vigilante theme it's very difficult to believe that
Michael Winner had anything to do with this movie . All through the
running the subtext screams " Men are sexual sadists , you can't trust
any of them , kill them all " which is far closer to a deluded feminist
world view , and what ever you think of Mr Winner there's no way you
can describe him as a feminist . But the penny drops the more the film
goes on when you realise it's not meant to be a serious film and
couldn't have been made by a serious film maker
The plot revolves around a woman called Bella who moves to Brighton and is the victim of a stalker who phones her when she's alone , though the stalker is both written and played in such an over the top manner that he's somewhat difficult to take seriously . Bella then takes advice from an Iranian clairvoyent ( As I'm sure anyone in her situation would do ) then it's revenge against the penis people all the way
As you can imagine I had this sussed out as a role reversal of DEATH WISH but about two thirds of the way through the entire tone of the movie changes when we're introduced to " The lady in red and spanky fat boy " . I wasn't convinced farcical black comedy was part of the masterplan at development stage , it's like Winner and co have got fed up making a straightforward revenge drama and had decided to lighten things up a little . Unfortunately the production started off bad and this black comedy element makes the film even worse
DIRTY WEEKEND is a bad movie , badly written , badly produced and badly cast ( Lia Williams goes through the movie with one expression ) but what makes it really bad is the offensive portrayal of men . There are a lot of nasty b@stards out there but it's ridiculous the way Bella runs into every creep , pervert and rapist in the country which gives coincidence a bad name . Though perhaps the movie isn't supposed to be taken seriously and I guess some people might see the movie as a guilty pleasure
This is a nasty and crude little offering from Mr Winner, which has quite a lot of heinous and cruel male characters in it. All set amongst the splendid flowers and apparent tranquility that is Southern England. But no, we are treated to some despicable men, such as a two-timing rotter; a psychopathic threatening phone-caller; a lecherous copper; a randy, grotesquely obese chap; a dentist who forces a woman to give him fellatio; and three nefarious blokes who savour in trying to set fire to an old vagrant woman. The picture has a definite menacing air to it throughout, has the lead lady Bella is repeatedly threatened by the said men and takes revenge and eventually gets her justice. I'm not going to entirely condemn the film, it has some moments, but it is difficult to watch. Only really for vigilante and Michael Winner film fans.
This is no Oscar Winner its a Michael Winner.and its one of his worse this is a very phoney movie.It doesnt work as a thriller.it comes across as a womans death wish.Except no Woman would get into such silly adventures.its insultingly bad.Some truly vulgar scenes.Obviously some of the actors needed to pay the rent.1 out of 10
I only saw this as I was writing a review for a college magazine at the time and thought it would be easier to write about a bad movie than a good one. I didn't realise just how easy it wou ld be. I saw it on a wet afternoon in a mutliplex, and 4 of the 6 people in the cinema walked out. I wish I was one. Awful in every possible respect, if Edison had known that this would happen to his great invention he would have hid the patent. Not out of curiosity, masochism or desperation should you give this a look.
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