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20 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

very enjoyable, but too fast paced

Author: Yaniv Eidelstein from Israel
2 July 2003

sometimes, a film can suffer greatly from just one drawback, even if everything else is top notch. unfortunately, this is the case here.

this film, based on iain banks' novel, is an impressive production, with excellent actors, breathtaking scottish settings, believable and very enjoyable character quirks, truly shocking murders, suspense and even some steamy sex.

however, "complicity" doesn't quite succeed, and i can only trace it back to one thing: it's much too compressed. i haven't read the original novel, but it's obvious a great deal of it made it to the screen; unfortunately, the film's 93 minute running time just doesn't suffice for this epic tale: cameron colley's journalistic investigation into several seemingly unrelated murders, egged on by a mysterious anonymous source, which causes him to clash with his disapproving bosses; his relationships with his old friends, and the many secrets they share; his affair with yvonne; the various grisly murders as seen by the killer; flashbacks to cameron's childhood and teenage years; and the psychologically jarring moments after cameron becomes the police's prime suspect.

of course, this film offers many funny, thrilling, surprising and shocking moments, but they're all a bit rushed. a longer format would have benefitted this film greatly. banks' exceedingly clever and profound story manages to come over very well, but the film is so densely packed that i'd recommend you take small breaks so as to take everything in; make a cup of coffee or something and come back, as you would to a good novel (of course you could go straight to the source, but me, i'd rather watch the movie.)

the fabulous bbc production of banks' "the crow road" shows the extent to which a longer format is more suitable to his multifaceted stories.

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16 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

It is a good film

Author: diegofeduchi from United Kingdom
29 January 2007

First I read the book, which is highly recommendable, and I have it as one of my top books ever. Later on I watched the film, and I found it good. I think the characters are casted very well, except perhaps William, but, on the other hand, Keely Hawes plays Yvonne very well.

I think the film misses out some important information on the book that give sense to the story. The film changes a couple of things here and there and does not fully respect the final, which I find a bad error. I think if the film had been 30 minutes longer it would have been a world success.

My review seems negative but only because the book is superb. Of course the plot is good, the actors are good and the story flows well. I do wonder, however, if I have been able to follow the whole plot because I know the book inside out or because it is well told. I had the feeling a couple of times that the story was told in chunks.

Do watch the film, but read the book first

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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

* * * out of 4.

Author: Brandon L. Sites ( from USA
18 May 2004

Vile, violent, but intelligent thriller about a writer for an expose newspaper shocked to discover that everybody he was going to ruin in the press is turning up dead and all the clues point to him as the killer.

The premise may not sound like much, but just give this film a chance and watch it. You'll be surprised. It goes in directions that you would never expect, yet they are all credible. It also doesn't go for the easy answers in trying to wrap up it's little mystery. As good as the whole film was I never expected them to create a good ending for it, but yet again the script surprised me there too. A very good film.

Rated R; Graphic Violence, Profanity, Drug Use, Adult Themes, Sexuality.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Very good adaptation of excellent novel

Author: L A from Sweden
15 July 2003

We were rather suspicious of this movie when we first sat down to watch it. My husband and I had both read the book and liked it very much, and since we hadn't heard of the adaptation before we suspected that it probably wouldn't be much good.

Boy, were we ever wrong.

The movie is slightly too gory at times for my personal taste, but then, so is the book. And it's hard not to be, in a story about the hunt for a mad but incredibly clever serial killer. The setting is just right, and the casting as well, and the story unfolds at a pace that just allows you to understand what's going on before the next twist to the plot.

Very highly recommended.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:


Author: ( from London, England
31 July 2000

Brave yet flawed adaption of Iain Banks' dark novel. The characters appear flat as they wade through some bland dialogue. Jonny Lee Miller goes through the remarkable events as if he were buying socks. The shocks and surprises fail to shock or surprise. A more full on darker thrust would have prevented this from resembling a poor episode of Taggart. Well done for having a go and well done for keeping it in Scotland rather than moving it to another locale.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The film, while viewable, did not bring the novel's atmosphere

Author: bonzi from Zagreb, Croatia
24 July 2000

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am a great Banks' fan, and was awaiting this film eagerly. I am quite disappointed, though the film would presumably, if taken at face value and not compared to the novel, be OK.

[Further text might constitute mild spoilers to some readers]

The first thing one notices is that most material from the book is somehow stuffed into the film (with notable exception of Cameron's cancer and Basra Road episode - sorry for referring to the novel). The result is rapid succession of events that get barely touched, not leaving room for atmosphere or, paradoxically, even decent suspense to develop. There isn't a trace of suffocating mood of the novel. Events follow each other at the pace that does not allow them to evolve and to give viewer chance to absorb them. I think that Millar and Elsley would have done much better job if given (the superb BBC TV mini-series, also after Banks) The Crow Road format.

Otherwise, the film is technically good. Casting and acting is very good, with one crucial exception: IMHO, Cameron is too young, far too cheerful and devoid of air of impeding doom around him.

And BTW, DVD producers should have included, under excuse of doing that for the benefit of hearing impaired, English subtitles (Scottish accent is quite difficult for non-native speakers). I plan to watch the film one or two times more to see whether my opinion will improve by simply catching more of what was said :)

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Great film, low budget, scary scary!!

Author: aliferste from Glasgow
28 April 2003

Its a shame that people get annoyed at low budget films and dont watch them to the end as there is some mighty fine moments in this film that must be seen to be enjoyed. It was a massive task trying to take Ian Banks novel and putting it on the big screen anyway and this film was possibly only about a tenth of as good as the book. Which still makes it very good although you can never truly realise how sick the killer really is, i mean they talk about what the killer has done and in some instances you actually see it but........its a low budget doesnt want to depend on gore wants to make you think about what is hapening and more importantly WHY it is happening. Ever read a newspaper report about a daft judge giving stupid sentence and the criminal getting away with it...well this film is about that and what would happen if one man lost the rails and decided to go up against people that deserved the attention that they should have shown to others....or lack thereof. Great!!

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Slightly disappointing Iain Banks novel turned into a movie

Author: jantobi from Aurich, Germany
11 May 2000

"Complicity" is the second Iain Banks novel turned into a film, but while it is made for the big screen, it does not live up to the standards set by BBC's mini series "The Crow Road". While it is an entertaining and gripping thriller set in Edinburgh and the Highlands, it ultimately fails to convey the spirit of the book. The cast are good, though, and the story is excellent.

It looks like a TV film, and while it is not exactly a wasted opportunity to bring Iain Banks to the cinema, it is slightly disappointing, although still worth watching.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

overlooked thriller satisfies on a number of levels

Author: CountZero313 from Japan
5 May 2008

In Japan, this film is given the title Psycho 2001. The cover of the DVD shows a writhing figure in a bloody bathtub, apparently boiling in a stew of guts and organs after ritual disembowelment.

No such scene exists in the film. This title and cover seem to be one more chapter in the harsh treatment this film has suffered at the hands of distributors.

And it is undeserved treatment. This is a classy thriller, Johnny Lee Millar giving his trademark performance in moral ambiguity as a clapped-out journalist looking to break a huge scoop on government conspiracy. As he digs deeper, he finds the story becoming less about the wicked ways of the world, and more about the murky secrets of his own past.

The Highland locations are well used in sweeping helicopter shots, the pacing swift as journo Cameron moves through a sea of bodies, a mysterious Deep Throat figure keeping him one step behind the bad guy(s). Brian Cox is as solid as ever, rehearsing his bad-ass law enforcer routine before Bourne. Millar stands up to a demanding role, especially in the final third when all his chickens come home to roost, and regret, anguish, atonement, cynicism and hope are all required to be shown.

Complicity appears to have been overlooked by most theatres, distributors, award-givers and reviewers. A shame really, much worse British films have travelled abroad in recent years. Complicity is fraught, character-driven, quirky, kinky and pays off at the end. Well worth checking out.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A mixed bag

Author: Thorsten-Krings from Germany
29 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm not really sure what to make of this film. The first 45 or 50 minutes are fairly unsatisfying. With good story telling you become part of the story; here I found myself watching from the outside. I found it difficult to feel empathy for anyone. No character was really particularly interesting or likable. Then there was such too much of everything happening too fast: too many murders, too many sex scenes etc. Keeley Hawes' sex scenes are very, very erotic but I can't help wondering why they are in the film. After about 50 minutes, the suspense starts kicking in and the film becomes quite interesting and well paced. Unfortunately, you also can be pretty sure who the killer really is. Suspenseful as the second half of the film may be, it's also a rather banal storyline. Ex-soldier starts killing bad people taking revenge for everything that has happened in his life or in his world. The killings are gruesome but then again it's nothing we have not seen before. One victim is displayed in a butcher's window: I saw that in an EC comic from the early 50s. The moral question at the end of the day is then how justified these murders are and that the law can never catch the real culprits. That is hardly an original thought or motive in crime films.

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