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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
Like a student's quilt, with great pieces that aren't quite put together very well. Huge promise for the future, though!
This movie has strengths and weaknesses. Some of the strengths are its attempt to tell a 'real' story, without recourse to shtick, cliché, or pop-star trickery so common on TV and in movies these days. It seems obvious that the writer and director had visions of something deep, meaningful, as well as entertaining. Another strength is the reliance on the humans, and their real-world behaviors, fears, and hopes (etc.) for the 'current' flow of the movie. The camera lingers, the dialogue is written to enlighten us about the emotions (pleasant as well as despairing) of the characters. It may be said this is a character driven movie, perhaps? And, all of the cast do a commendable job of providing us with the characters' humanity and depth.
Some of the weaknesses, however, are how all of the individual components of the writer and director's vision are executed. Many of the threads of the story simply go nowhere--- not that we necessarily need a big plot-ish conclusion to everything. But we do need some sense, anyway, of what various expositions mean. Sure, we could accept a bit of non-convention, and even artiness, but some of the elements of this story never were stitched together with any other parts of the movie. Worse, those orphaned parts were never really stitched up as themselves--- i.e., they never really completed themselves, nor made any real sense in and of themselves. Without discussing plot details, let me breezily mention the parts with Chan, the Chinese chippy guy, for example. These had neither a start, nor a finish--- we simply saw one brief middle, as it were.
Overall, this is a pleasant movie--- but it isn't a great one. I looked up the director and the writer online, and didn't find much. If they are young, or young-ish, this effort might bode well. That is, this movie resembled a good student-like product from young and promising film makers. Young, in their careers anyway, regardless of their actual calendar year age, but very talented. People to watch in the future.
'On A Clear Day' made me think of quilt makers. Imagine a master-to-be quilt maker; a quilt making artist whose work will be celebrated in the UK and America, and featured on PBS and BBC documentaries and featured in museums, etc. And then imagine this future master's last 'student' project, when she was 17 years old or so, before the magic clicked and she got great. This student work shows genius and promise, both undelivered as of now. That's what 'Clear Day' is like--- a quilt whose individual pieces are great, showing bright and future success, but not put together very well, showing immaturity and a student just beginning to blossom. Oh, the cast was great, and they obviously did everything they were asked to do, and they did it very well. The ill-fitting chunks weren't their fault--- they were just an artifact of the awkward and 'green' directorial efforts.
Go see it anyway--- support the growth of these folks! I gave this an encouraging 8 out of 10.
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