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Colin is in agony, shattered by his wife's infidelity. However, he has friends who do more than stand by -- they kidnap the wife's French lover and hold him prisoner so that Colin can restore his manhood with revenge. A kangaroo court takes place and as the situation escalates Loverboy's life hangs in the balance as Colin wrestles with revenge, remorse, grief and self pity, all the while egged on by his motley crew of friends who just want him to get on with it so they can get down the pub. Written by
(I saw this at the Sydney Film Festival, but IMDb has it as "in production", so I may have seen an incomplete version.) The pitch would have been something like "Reservoir Dogs meets Last Orders". From Reservoir Dogs we get the basic set-up of a bunch of crooks played by fine actors meeting in a lock-up and debating what to do with their captive, plus an enigmatic title and a flashback structure. From Last Orders comes a group of top-notch actors clearly enjoying themselves in a brown, downbeat London.
Some of the dialogue is fun if you like expletives spat out in poetry-like rhythms. There are good jokes and the acting is, as you'd expect from this lot, pretty fine. I was particularly pleased to see Stephen Dillane get his chance to prove himself cinematically after such an impressive theatrical career.
The downside is the plot, or rather the lack of it. The basic premise is laid out early on in the piece, and there is no real conflict to maintain our interest. Contrast the uniformity of opinion here with the combustible dynamics of Mr Blond, Mr White et al and the problem is clear. Some dream sequences intended to open the tale out feel forced, and a couple of minor twists are inconsequential.
If this script had been produced with a younger group of unknown actors it might get hailed for its promise. With this cast, 44 Inch Chest can only be counted a disappointment.
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