After decades of laboring as a Glasgow shipbuilder, Frank Redmond, a no-nonsense 55-year-old working-class man, suddenly finds himself laid off. For the first time in his life, he is without a job or a sense of direction, and he's too proud to ask for guidance. His best mates - rascally Danny, timid Norman and cynical Eddie - are there for him, but Frank still feels desperately alone. An offhand remark from Danny inspires Frank to challenge himself. Already contemplating the state of his relationships with loving wife Joan and all-but-estranged son Rob, Frank is determined to shore up his own self-confidence. He will attempt the near impossible - swimming the English Channel. As Frank plunges headlong into his new daily life, his astonished friends are swept along with him. Prodded by stalwart fish-and-chips shop owner Chan, the men support Frank, train him - and keep their goal secret from his wife and son. Frank is unable to confide in those closest to him, but as the big day and ... Written by
I had the opportunity to see "On a Clear Day" last night, Jan. 21, 2004 at Abravanel Hall as part of the opening of the Sundance Film Festival. Robert Redford introduced Gaby Dellal, a first-time director. She spoke about the film and creating it and then introduced the screenplay writer, some of the crew and the cast. They were nicely received by everyone - especially Billy Boyd.
The film itself is fairly good, a bit uneven, slow in the beginning. Much of that may be because the sound system was a little "echoey" and I'm not up on my Scottish / northern English dialects. After the first 45 minutes or so, once I could figure out who everyone was and what their issues were, the film really took off for me. I loved the last half, the resolutions and the cementing of friendships.
I've already decided to rent it when it comes out on DVD so that I can watch it with closed captions now that I have an idea of the plot line. I would recommend this to those who love a good story, this is not an action/adventure! I would imagine those who live in the areas shown in the film will especially love it. Peter Mulan was fabulous, but I loved and related to Brenda Blethan from the opening scene. Billy was the same happy-go-lucky type of character he played as Pippin in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, and was the humorous leavening that helped make the film enjoyable. The story was one many will easily relate to.
Independent Films are often ignored, and I would encourage you to support the efforts films like this one represents. It's often an important resource and insight into our communities and cultures that the world needs. Try them, you will enjoy them!
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