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|Index||112 reviews in total|
I loved this movie - it had the kind of understated and subtle, intelligent humour that is all too rare these days. Witty, acerbic and thoroughly scurrulous. A titled brat with no brains and a very canny artisan who are both wanted by the law reluctantly join forces as highwaymen. Historically only as accurate as it suits the story at the time, it has a surreal quality that is enchanting. If you like intelligent, funny movies with a twist, this one's worth a look. A bit graphic in places, both sexually and in terms of violence, but what's a bit of the clap between friends!? I don't understand how this movie made so little impact on the movie going public but it deserves cult status as far as I am concerned.
Ah, how refreshing to see a vision of 18th century England complete with
mud, the pox and gibbets... and accompanied by a delightful techno
soundtrack to boot.
This is the story of downtrodden highwayman Plunkett (Robert Carlisle) and
Gentleman-fallen-on-hard-times Captain Macleane (Jonny Lee Miller), and
they get together and rob the aristo pigs.
Plunkett is a hard nut, but MaCleane is far too polite for that, and thus
becomes 'the gentleman highwayman'. He falls in love with Lady Rebecca
Tyler), (who to be frank is the only weak part of the whole shebang) and
wants to impress her.
The costumes are fantastic. Big, colourful, historically innacurate beautiful togs. Alan Cummings gets all the best threads, and the best lines as Lord Rochester, sporting a very non-18th century eyebrow piercing. The music shifts between swooping glorious choirs and thumping bass-laden techno, which doesn't jarr as you think it should do in a historical film. The script is fast-moving and peppered with modern-day colloquialisms; Merchant Ivory, this is not. There are hilarious parts, disgusting parts, sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat-and-nibble-your-fingernails parts, but the whole thing chugs along and is wonderfully entertaining throughout. This is cheer-in-the-cinema stuff. Unmissable.
Wow! I picked this off the rental shelf because I loved Robert Carlyle and Jonny Lee Miller in 'Trainspotting.' This is a phenomenal movie; it has action, romance, suspense, intrigue and wit. When I wasn't laughing, I was at the edge of my seat. This is definitely a film I would recommend to people with an appreciation for intelligent dialogue and a fresh perspective of the 18th century. This film has everything to keep ME happy!
** HERE BE SPOILERS **
Recap: Macleane (Miller) witnesses a robbery by Plunkett (Carlyle) that goes wrong. Plunkett's partner get shot (and killed) but not until after he has swallowed a great ruby. Plunkett and Macleane then meet at the cemetery when both try to get hold of the ruby. Unfortunately they are caught as grave robbers and sent to jail, but not until Plunkett has swallowed the ruby. The ruby is their key to freedom, and once they're free, they form a partnership in robbery. Macleane is to pose as a gentleman and find out who is worth robbing, and then simply they rob him (and rob them in style). But Macleane falls in love with the niece/daughter (?) of their first victim, lady Rebecca Gibson (Tyler). And a Mr Chance (Stott) is out to catch them, and his methods are not very nice...
Comments: A good action flavoured by comedy and adventure. Carlyle and Miller form a good team, with a lot of friction and friendship. And then there is the relationship between Macleane and Rebecca Gibson. The scene with the ball is very good, especially the (anachronistic) use of the music. In addition to these interesting characters Cumming play the best of them all, Lord Rochester. Both the character and the acting are stellar and among the best in the movie. In total, the movie works very well, a nice balance between story and special effects, action and comedy. Very entertaining.
Far from being historically naive, Plunkett and Macleane is a very cheeky comedy which uses modern touches to bring humour and vibrance to the story. In one hilarious scene modern music is used to turn a ball into a kind of rave. This picture probably conveys more of the spirit of England at that time than any of the tightly corseted period dramas that we see on our small screens. In those days London would no doubt have been (not much different than today) a hive of grime, guts, violence and sex. The best thing to do is to sit back and enjoy the energy,comedy and damn fine performances in this great little britflick. It's not exactly accurate but then this is not what was intended. Give it a go!
I can tell from reading the other comments that I am in the small minority of people who loved this film. I rented it several times to share with friends and family, and since they are all into renfaires and the like, they seemed to enjoy it. Maybe not as much as I did, but not everyone is me. I found it to be a fun romp into a world that we so often see the high society end of (Dangerous Liasons, etc..), but not too often from the poor man's point of view. Robert Carlyle and Johnny Lee Miller are two of my favorite actors, both since Trainspotting, and I think they will be for some time to come. If you like English humor, then I think you will enjoy this film.
England in the 1700's, (1745 to be exact) was not a nice place. The rich were all made up to the eyeballs with ludicrous hair and cuffs you could hide a poodle in. They did, however smell a little better than the poor, who were lucky if they made it through the day without a vital appendage falling off in the street.
It is to this world that the audience watching Plunkett and Macleane are introduced. It's not pretty, but it's very believable and prepares you to accept the lengths to which people will go to clamber from the muck to a better life.
Thrown together through circumstance, Macleane, a semi-respectable gentleman who spends too much on women and gambling and Plunkett, a common criminal with more than a few tricks up his sleeve, find that they can rob together successfully as partners. So they do. A lot.
There's a lot of good ideas in the film, primarily the concept of turning the idea of 18th Century English nobility on its head and making it seem little more than an excuse to wear wigs and lipstick. A refreshing change in these days of Merchant Ivory productions and hey-nonny snooze.
Then there's the obligatory love interest, Lady Rebecca (Liv Tyler) and the vicious baddie, in the form of the Thief Taker General Chance, played with sadistic relish by Ken Stott. Both perform well, but it's up to the two leads, and the chemistry that worked well in Trainspotting to steal the show. Being Highwaymen, they steal it with ease, commanding each scene with humour and grit in equal proportions. Some moments of the film are laugh out loud funny, while others border on the disgusting. Always funny and compelling as an action movie, (the love story is left firmly in second place) Plunkett & Macleane is great fun. Though the efforts of the excellent cast and director Jake Scott, we have another British hit on our hands.
All in all, to blatantly rip off a line from the film:
"It was fantastic and I had a bloody good laugh!"
... because while I thoroughly enjoyed this film, it seems from other user comments that I'm in the minority. Maybe not one for the philosopher (eek), there are some wonderful scenes here (- particularly the techno), and the great life adventure story originally portrayed. Go see for yourself!
I've been waiting since last October to see this film! (it was supposed to come out October '98) and now I've finally seen it I am not disappointed. Bloody marvellous! OK it was a tad slow in the beginning, but once it got going it's a very exciting nail-biting tense Robert Carlyle is so different from either Gaz in 'The Full Monty' and Begbie in 'Trainspotting' ) that it's hard to recognise him! And Johnny Lee Miller, no longer with his Sick Boy from 'Trainspotting' blond hair, plays his dashing gentlemen highway man with the right about of humour and sensitivity that it is easy to see why Liv Tylers Rebecca falls for him. A great film. As Hades in Disney's 'Hercules' would say: "Two thumbs way way up!!"
When I sat down in the cinema to see this I was expecting to see a sort of
stylish tongue-in-cheek action film, which had been implied by the trailers.
However, it very quickly became apparent that this film was trying to be
Normally, I don't approve of films that try to entertain in as many ways possible. For instance, this film tries to mix action with comedy, romance, lightheartedness and gritty seriousness all at once. Most of the time this sort of approach doesn't work in films (just look at Batman Forever) but I was was pleasantly surprised to see that in this case, they pulled it off.
The end result is a highly entertaining film that should appeal to most mature cinemagoers. (However, the weak of stomach should really be warned of one or two scenes.) Robert Carlyle and Jonny Lee Miller pull of a brilliant double act and Ken Stott does a excellent villain. This mixed in with superb costumes and a few decent action scenes makes for a very enjoyable watch.
However, the big let-down here for me is that in having 'The Gentleman Highwayman' there was a real opportunity for some good dialogue but the script was definitely lacking in punchiness and there were few belly laughs. Okay, so the lines weren't terrible but to me it does highlight a problem with recent British films; ignoring a few notable exceptions the screenplays being written today are still relatively mediocre when compared to some of Hollywood's efforts.
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