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Weird and a little comic but definitely with more cult appeal than anything else
William is an aspiring young musician who has come to London to, hopefully, make it to the big time with his band. Forced to play corny piano music in a shopping centre to pay his rent, William meets Madeline who he falls for only for her to show up at one of his gigs with another man. While he gets a bit of a break playing live on radio, his band sign with their new manager Vince who is good at making contacts but is into drugs and is unhinged. Events progress around William until he witnesses a bizarre and shocking murder of a fellow musician at the hands of two dwarfs.
With a plot summary as weird as that how could I not tune in to watch this film and I suppose I was ready for something that would be very much a cult item as opposed to something that would be easily accessible and, to a greater extent, I was right. The plot opens with a brutal and unnerving murder and jumps back several weeks to find William arriving in London.
From this point onwards the film flirts with real life but gradually gets progressively weirder as it goes. In some ways this is interesting but in other ways things happen that are 'normal' but yet seem unexplained, unlikely or out of place. In terms of traditional narrative this doesn't make too much difference because the film seems like it is all over the place for much of the running time, only coming together in a strange and a little unsatisfying conclusion.
While it will not be to everyone's tastes, it is still interesting enough to be worth watching. The film blends the world of musical hopefuls with murder, weird imagery with a strange comic tone that will appeal to some, but it will be the minority. I quite enjoyed it for being something different but must admit to not being totally won over by it simply because I did find it hard to get into. It is very dark in tone and this was enough to keep me watching it even if at times it did seem to be drifting. The cast are a mixed bunch but mostly they do well. I'm not particularly fond of Max Beesley but he does quite well in the lead role but he is overshadowed by a very strange but strong performance from Winstone who does well with a character that is hard to understand for almost all the film. The other main members of the cast (Hille and Cervi) are both pretty strong and there are minor roles for Pertwee and Serkis with an enjoyable little cameo from John Peel - but the film is at its best when Winstone is on the screen.
Overall an interesting and strange film that will appeal to a small cult audience but certainly not to the majority due to its strange story and lack of a really satisfying narrative flow. Worth a watch once as long as you are open to just being patient and a strong performance from Winstone is a draw but generally it is just a bit too 'strange' to be considered a particularly good film but definitely one that will have a small cult following.
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