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Two late 30's/early 40's professional men - something like high flying
City types who we gather have got a considerable history together,
perhaps murky, that both binds them but in particular puts the more
personable but nervier one of the two under the control of the other,
Bill (Paul McGann). This he struggles to escape but some kind of sense
of obligation mixed with fear fights with his really desperate efforts
to escape the other's control. What's in it for the cooler of the two
to exercise power over the other? Pleasure it seems even it suggests,
sexual pleasure. But then, in the unkindest turn of fate, caused by his
extreme desperation, the nervier of the two by accident creates a
situation which suddenly makes him now entirely beholden to the other.
His reputation, his marriage, his survival have suddenly become the
gift - and we can guess perhaps the plaything of the other. Does this
all really matter? It does when we learn that the nervier one is.......
But that would be telling!
How was his tormentor able to phone him on THAT phone? Is it all a dream or rather repeating nightmare? Where else would someone be "Always crashing in the same car".
This could, if it were possible to sustain the intensity of the situation, the writing and the acting have been a really remarkable feature film. As it is as a 12 minute short it is intriguing and holds our attention. Shame that it is only a short.
A few might wished to be warned that there is very bad (but entirely naturally occurring) language in the film which wasn't bleeped on the early evening TCM showing.
James Booth is pushing for a decision that he believes would realise
millions of revenue they are currently missing. It is late at night and
the discussions have gone on too long. He is confronted by a calm and
confident Bill Mackinnon, a man with whom he has a history. Booth loses
it with his confrontation and storms out of the meeting, so angry that
he dismisses his driver and aggressively takes to the roads himself.
With the anger and resentment still fresh, something happens that
affect the relationship of the two men forever.
Much was made of this short film mainly because it achieved the coup of putting the two stars of Withnail & I back onto the screen together again. For whatever reason Withnail had been their only pairing so far and I think that director Wellaway was overjoyed and surprised to get them both involved. Beyond this hook though, what is there to get excited about? Well, the film itself is a simple tale that starts once Booth has hit a homeless woman and ends up forced to turn to Mackinnon for help in clearing it up and protecting his high powered job. The point of the film comes at the end when the nature of Booth's job is revealed and the closing caption poses a sobering and depressing question. This is the point of the film and it does rather hit it then get out quickly, which made me feel like the point of the film hadn't had much time spent on it while the relationship between the two men had seemed to be the focal point.
This was a minor issue for me comparatively though because up till this point I had been held by the story of the two men. This part of the short film is delivered professionally and with a really enjoyable tension in the air. The two men are in separate places for the film (apart from the meeting at the start) but you can taste the power struggle that occurs between them. It holds more context and meaning once the reveal has occurred but regardless it is still very well done. Wellaway delivers his own script with an assured hand and the film looks as good as it feels with power and desire for power seeping out of many scenes.
It is not a perfect film in terms of narrative but otherwise it is very well done and engaged me throughout. The reveal at the end did feel all a bit too sudden but it strengthened what had gone before, making the film better as a result, even if it affected what I thought the focus was going to be.
'Always Crashing in the Same Car' is an intense short film, featuring,
Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann. (The two actors re-teaming up for the
first time since the cult classic 'Withnail & I' that helped each of
them get their breaks in the business.) Written and directed by Duncan
Wellaway. Produced by Zoe Ball.
At just under 12 minutes in length, 'Always Crashing in the Same Car' packs in quite a lot.
Before seeing this short film, I felt Richard E Grant was a somewhat underrated actor before seeing this short film. Now I am sure he is seriously underrated! Grant delivers a brilliant performance here!
I'm not very familiar with much of McGann's work, but he is good in this.
There is an interesting twist, of sorts, once you've seen the film in full. And it makes you wonder, but I won't say anymore, as that would give it away.
Definitely worth watching.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Possible spoiler I thought this short movie was very interesting and I
always love movies with a surprise twist at the end. ( This is my first
review, is mentioning a surprise twist a spoiler?) I did not see the
political left wing messages in this piece and I would be the first to
call out and criticize it as such. To me it was the basic theme of rich
vs poor, have vs have not, and how there are two sets rules and laws
for either one. Another theme explored is the shifting of power both
real and perceived from one man to another and how suddenly the man who
thought he had power is suddenly beholden to another. The last theme is
something we can relate to, getting into trouble and just wanting it to
all go away. It makes you think on how far are you willing to
compromise your values and would you behold yourself to another person,
end up in someone's pocket, to make your problem go away?
What stands out is Grant and McGann's acting. Awesome performances that brought all those major themes to light.
Really enjoyed this film. I loved the look/ feel of it and the dark, melancholy music. Really great to see London at night and would be interested to know which buildings it was shot at as they looked wonderful. Really good performances by both Richard E Grant and Paul M, both two really wonderful actors. Back together again for the first time since Withnail I believe. So amazing it's been so long since they've been together. I wonder whether how the Director managed to get them both on board. I would watch out for Duncan Wellaway. He's got serious talent as Writer and Director. Beautiful cinematography as well. Dark in places but seriously worth the watch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First of all, am I excited that Grant and McGann are sharing scenes
once again, after "Withnail & I"? No. That movie was merely watchable,
nothing more. Time and time again, I am astounded to find how easily
certain people will cling on to mediocrity, seeing far more in it than
is actually there. But next to cult favourites such as "Easy Rider" and
"Breaking The Waves", the said movie is almost a classic by comparison.
ACITSC is visually appealing, but the "story" doesn't work. The moment of revelation, when we find out that Grant is the Prime Minister, is more of a "come on..." moment than anything else. So is the point here that politicians are corrupt? Can't drive? Thay they yell hysterically at others at times of crisis, coming close to nervous breakdowns? Laughable. If U.S. Presidents and British PMs were anywhere close to as unstable, corrupt, and immoral as they have been portrayed in recent years, we'd have dictatorships by now.
Who made this? Yet another disillusioned ex-Blairite? What are they disappointed about? The Iraq War? I am sick and tired of left-wing propaganda finding its way in just about every film that has been unleashed on the sheepy public this decade. Illiterate, gullible, ignorant, pacifistic, Marxist, and overly idealistic fools (and criminally opportunistic sleazoids like Michael Moore) seem to permeate the world of film, and that is akin to a small disaster. After all, sheep watch their misleading produce, and as everyone knows sheep do and believe as sheep are told to do and believe. Bah.
McGann is some hidden, menacing, movie-cliché political presence, a pervert who gets sexually aroused when exerting power on the PM, while Grant mugs his way through the role as if he were playing a man who had just escaped from a heavily guarded lunatic asylum. It's plain dumb... Overly dramatic; overkill.
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