"Friends and Crocodiles" traces the changing relationship of maverick entrepreneur Paul Reynolds and his assistant Lizzie Thomas over a period of 20 years from the beginnings of the Thatcher era to the bursting of the dot.com bubble.
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"Friends and Crocodiles" traces the relationship of maverick entrepreneur Paul Reynolds and his colleague Lizzie Thomas over a period of 20 years from the beginning of the Thatcher years to the rise of the electronic age and the dot-com bubble. Paul persuades Lizzie to work for him as his personal assistant, and becomes her mentor. She is inspired by his drive and creativity, but appalled by his lack of organisation and occasionally destructive anarchic lifestyle. After she calls the police to terminate an extravagant party which has got out of hand, they part, vowing never to meet again, but, over the years, their paths continually cross, as Lizzie rises through the corporate world and Paul's fortunes rise and fall. The play is an examination of the nature of personal relationships where work and ideas are more powerful drivers than sexual emotions, and also a panoramic view of the rapid changes in British society in the '80's and '90's. Written by
The title refers to a baby crocodile that main character Paul owns. Paul says he thinks something can be learned from crocodiles because they survived the meteor that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. See more »
Stephen Polliakoff's films are always interesting, even when they're not actually very good, because Polliakoff himself is interested in things that few other contemporary writers and directors are: time (he likes to tell his stories slowly) and space (they unwind in beautiful and unusual places). Unfortuantly, the specific content is often less interesting than the way that he explores it: the world he paints is aesthetically delightful, but sometimes doesn't resemble the real world very closely; 'Friends and Crocodiles', for example, is not his only film about a rich man surrounding himself with eccentric friends, in a way that seems more necessary for the purpose of the drama, than it does plausible. And this particular film is also let down by some clunky expositional dialogue (for example, when the heroine gets a new job, someone feels the need to explain that her new firm is "one of the country's largest companies"), a paper-thin satire of modern business practices, and the lack of chemistry between her character and her millionaire patron. Alan Rickman, who played a similar millionaire in his earlier film "Close My Eyes", had the charisma to pull the role off; Damian Lewis, by contrast, is flat in this movie. One weakness of both stories in the Polliakoff's tendency to centre his dramas on false (or at least, irrelevant) dichotomies, particularly that between new technology and aristocratic artifacts; but both his worlds are unreal, gorgeous and belong to the moneyed elite; I find it hard to draw any meaningful lessons from their pseudo-conflict. I suppose you don't watch Polliakoff for pure social realism, rather for the imagery as striking as shafts of light. But light has to illuminate something: in this film, it's not that clear what that something is supposed to be.
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