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Paul is a London tube driver with dreams of a cottage in a bee-loud glade. He's told that if his train strikes and kills one more person this month, he'll get a large severance, enough for the cottage. So he offers £1500 to Tommy Cassidy, a down-and-out Irishman, if Tommy will walk in front of Paul's train come Monday. He gives Tommy the cash on Friday. Wanting to ensure that Tommy honors the deal, Paul accompanies a cleaned-up Tommy on his trip (in a new suit and a hired car) to make things right with family he hasn't seen in eight years. Can Tommy, an inveterate gambler, make anything come out right? And what about Paul - can this suicide pact fulfill his dreams? Written by
I don't see what the train drivers union were complaining about
Way back even before this film even premiered at the cinema, the main London Underground tube drivers Union ASLEF were up in arms about this film being insensitive and that people falling under trains and suicide is not something to be laughed about. I don't know what they thought this film was about, or whether they had seen a completely different film to me, but I would struggle to class this as a comedy at all. It's a serious drama about a serious subject, and although, yes, there might be one or two chuckles here and there, this isn't an all-out comedy and never pretends to be. It's a serious look at Colm Meaney's character Tommy, his relationship with his wife and daughter and how it came to be that he is willing to throw himself in front of Mackenzie Crooks train. There is actually very little of the movie set underground at all - it soon takes on a road movie type trip through Liverpool (with a (thankfully brief) cameo by Atomic Kitten's Kerry Katona) and then onto Cumbria and the Lake District, no doubt to try and encourage movie-goers to holiday in the area.
Colm Meaney is better than he ever was in Star Trek, Imelda Staunton is there because after all this is a Brit flick and it says in her contract somewhere that she must star in every new British film going, while relative newcomer Gemma Arterton (last seen in St Trinians)puts on a Scouse accent for this role and does her rising career no harm at all - the new 007 film is up next, and the girl has a promising future in front of her. Mackenzie Crook I'm not so sure about. I was never a fan of "The Office" in the first place, but he seems to do well enough here - he and Meaney make a good team, it's just a shame that nearly all the original publicity back in April 2008 was negative, focusing mainly on the objections of the ASLEF union to a film that they had obviously not seen. Agreed, deaths under the wheels of trains aren't funny - I've researched my family tree and one distant relative did die this way and the inquest report makes for grim reading - I've no doubt that this is a very traumatic experience for any driver unlucky enough to hit and kill someone and no laughing matter - but then this film is no laughing matter either. It deals with a sensitive subject matter very well. I don't really see what all the fuss was about. I'd have thought the average IMDb score would be a lot better than it is currently. Ignore all the newspaper stories and judge for yourself. If any film deserves a second chance it is this one - surely a contender for the best British film of 2008.
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