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|Index||12 reviews in total|
I saw the premiere of this film last night at the Edinburgh Film Festival. It was absolutely brilliant! If you like British films where the underdog makes you go "aww..." then see this film, you won't be disappointed. The young lad who plays the son of the hero of the piece is a brilliant young actor, the fact that I can't recall his name is no reflection on how good he was (I'm just really bad at remembering names). Ewen Bremner was excellent, as usual...as was Jessica Hynes. The film is also memorable for a selection of the crappiest looking cars you'll have seen in a while. The hero's C-reg Volvo estate car is just fantastic. And as for the soundtrack...I'd forgotten how much I used to like Saxon. Support the British film industry, when they produce wee gems like this it would be rude not to.
I saw this last night, and what's special about it is that it was
filmed in my home town of Ludlow (the shots of the Castle and the
Church are landmarks in the town like the Empire State Building is in
New York and the Eiffel Tower is in Paris), and also in Hereford just
half an hour away, so I was dead eager to see it. Especially since I
missed seeing it filmed because I was on a stunt course in Cardiff
during that week in summer. After watching this movie, I was glad that
I don't live in LA or New York (used to seeing a film in the cinema
shot just down the road), because I found it fascinating to see a film
with shots of the park, the castle, and the main street that I grew up
Luckily, I was not disappointed. There is not a single weak link in the cast. There are moments that make you laugh out loud so often (such as the moment when Ewen Bremner's character realises that he's landed a date with a fellow trekkie), and when you want to cry (for example, when Eddie Marsan's character realises that his hobby of battle re-enactment is the reason his relationship with his family has gone awry).
I would love to go on, but I fear it'd spoil the story. If the climax didn't warm you, you have a heart of concrete. A real feel-good film that will brighten your day without a doubt.
This is the second British comedy I've seen recently that I'd never
heard of until a friend recommended it to me (the other one is "Blow
Dry"). I'm completely perplexed. The filmmakers went to all this
trouble to get a brilliant script and cast with matching performances
and then what? - they forgot to tell the UK audience that it exist?!
Also, it was never marketed outside the UK (although it seems to have
had a Swedish premiere according to IMDb Pro), no doubt losing millions
in the process!
It's really, really disheartening to all filmmakers everywhere to think that you can get everything right and still get it so wrong. If anyone knows the inside story on what happened (and to "Blow Dry" for that matter) then please let me know.
In the meantime, this goes straight into my private hoard of great comedies that I keep locked in my study, away from prying eyes, for those rainy days! :-)
I saw Faintheart on a flight from Hong Kong to Sydney and loved it so much, I watched it three times and wanted the flight to go on longer (and I loathe flying!). It was beautifully scripted, guffaw-out-loud funny and very touching at the same time. There wasn't a weak performance or an extraneous line in the entire screenplay, the hero's character development was believable and the baddies were satisfyingly vanquished. The sub-plot involving male, female (and juvenile) Trekkies was absolutely hysterical. If you liked Brassed Off, you'll love this. (Note to female EastEnders fans - you won't believe how Joe, the schizophrenic teenager whose barmaid mum had an affair with Phil Mitchell, has grown up (Paul Nicholls)!)
Knowing nothing about Faintheart before watching it I was fooled by the
opening sequence where two armies were preparing for battle so imagine
my surprise when a cell rang and the scene was revealed to be a re-
enactment in modern world. After that I was excited to see what the
movie has to offer because it had never occurred to me before that
there are no comedies about Live Action Role Playing and anyone who is
familiar with that hobby knows that it is a goldmine of hilarity.
Faintheart indeed takes great advantage of its unique setting and shows us how imaginative people have to be to be able to enjoy dressing themselves up as knights or mages and swinging a sword made of plastic. However, at about 70% into the movie they seem to have run out of funny scenarios and choose to close the show by introducing clichés that we have seen so many times before.
The main male cast consists of Ewen Bremner and Steve Ryland who i hadn't heard of before but after looking them up on IMDb I was surprised at how many movies I had seen without noticing them. The female lead is Jessica Hynes from the amazing series "Spaced" looking better than ever. It was interesting to see her act in a role that requires a somewhat more serious approach but she pulls it off quite well.
Overall Faintheart is an enjoyable piece of British cinema and if I had kids I would make sure they saw this movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Faintheart is very believable the characters are almost to close for comfort. The life of Richard is boring underpaid and full of self important idiots like his boss, his other life is fulfilling and full of friends unfortunately his wife was being squeezed out by rush to do both. Richards son Martin is being bullied at school because of his fathers hobby changing his loyalty to shame until a girl at school shows interest in him and the hobby. The fight to save his family shakes Richard and causes him to reassess what is most important to him, Cath and his son are worth the fight although the battle is not as straightforward as he'd hoped. The re-enactors are seemingly a collection of what some would call "social misfits" perhaps looking from another angle- individualists not afraid of being separate from the herd, they share common traits in that their jobs are like Richard's dull and low paid their hobby escapism- better than crime. Features Richard Ridings from Eric the Viking as a bin man/wild axe wilding Viking perhaps the last avatar of Thor- shrunken to human form thoughtful yet full of fun. A great film worthy of watching in turns sad and funny.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Watching this took me back twenty years in a heartbeat. From that first
scene, as the mobile phone goes off. You'd always have something wrong
with the otherwise impressive shield wall.... Dayglow orange flashes on
the shield, the bloke with the trainers....
The Viking wedding, shown in flashback, with Barbara (Anne Reid) looking very awkward. Um, yes. Remember that one.
But really, this is about the ability (or lack) of people to change. Richard (Eddie Marsan) is too busy being what what he's been for probably twenty years. As Cath (Jessica Hynes) tells him, he's too busy being Julian's (Ewen Bremner) best mate, and as Julian still lives with his mum... Cath on the other hand gives the appearance of having moved on from battle re-enactments, though its more she got fed up of being turned into a camp follower.
We follow through Richard's painful process of attempts to win Cath back, as he tries to go back to when they met, tries to spy out the opposition - Gary the PE teacher (Paul Nicholls), tries to challenge him to single combat, and then misses son Martin's (Joseph Hamilton) play.
At the same time, Julian is trying to socialise online with fellow Trekkies, setting up a disastrous meeting with Kim (Matthew Leighton), but accidentally meeting Maggie (Bronagh Gallagher) in the process.
Caught in the middle is Martin, bullied at school, falling for Emily (Chloe Hesar) in the process, getting fed up with his dad's obsessions, but ultimately pushing him to the exact place he needs to be.
It all comes together in the final section, with a great battle against the rival battle group of Normans, where Gary turns up, finally humiliated in a one-to-one combat with Richard.
The overall story arc is predictable, but the journey is well plotted, scripted and for some of us, squirmingly funny to watch.
Let's have more of these!
I would agree that Faintheart mines a subject matter with rich pickings for parody, but I would stop short at saying that it does so particularly well. Some of the gags are sweet, and the whole ethos of the film is well intentioned, but it is at the end a very predictable romantic comedy with a plot that has been retrodden way too many times. The acting is good, although no real demands are made on any of the actors to show off what they are undoubtedly capable of, and the direction and camera work is also fine, but there is nothing really standout about this film. I wouldn't exactly avoid it, but I certainly haven't gained anything by seeing it either.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
OK, so the plot is on the predictable side, and doesn't really go
anywhere that you wouldn't expect. Nor does this film have any profound
message. In fact, it's a piece of lighthearted fluff.
But the acting is very good (particularly the debutants), and the re-enactment characters are so well drawn that I found myself squirming for large parts of the film. For I actually do swing a sword around for a hobby, and I even know one or two of the folks in the background. My hat comes off to the writers - their characterisations of some of the people one meets in the "scene" is terrifyingly accurate. Yes, these people are really out there...
SPOILER. One part of the film departs from any "reality" (reality whilst playing 'cowboys and indians with swords... hmmm). At the end of this film the antagonist (a non re-enactor) is handed a sword and encouraged to duel for the affections of the leading lady. I would just like to re-assure everyone out there that... no damn chance. No way is anyone handed a sword and allowed to fight for real. We have a little too much respect for our skins than that. It's a small quibble, but it does make the "scene" appear a touch more lunatic than it actually is (although the fact that the antagonist, holding a sword for the first time, outfights the 'trained' hero did make me smile). Of course, I do understand the sequence for dramatic purposes (although I'd have found it better if Jessica Hynes had fought for herself).
As for the comedy... well, the owl wins hands down, both whilst alive and during it's ship burial.
Faintheart (the character) is a Viking reenactor (as opposed to a
Bravehearted Scot) who, despite having married and sired a son already
in middle school, has never quite matured enough to be able to separate
his real and fantasy lives. As a consequence, his wife has separated
from him; and the film concerns his search for a pathway back into her
heart. (Hey, "Richard", what's with the eyeliner?)
As the first Yank to review this film, it's not clear to me why, at a key re-enactment, the audience would cheer for the Vikings over the Normans, unless the Vikings were merely the "home team" at the site of the event, or unless the Brits, after nearly a millennium, still resent the Norman invasion. (Historically, the Vikings launched raids on England, but it took the Vikings who had settled Normandy to later conquer England. According to geneticists, however, due to DNA similarities across sources, the percentage of today's population with Norman blood is indeterminate.)
Faintheart (the movie) is an unusual setting for the standard RomCom. The execution is well-done, but unexceptional. The acting is good all around, but one is continually impressed with the juvenile leads. Faintheart's son, Martin (Joseph Hamilton, in his first credited film here), looks like a reincarnated teenage Jodie Foster, with the covered-left-eye haircut. Martin's girlfriend, Emily, is played by Chloe Hesar, an accomplished TV actress, apparently appearing in her first big screen effort.
Faintheart is recommended for an easy-going one hundred or so minutes of undemanding entertainment.
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