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Two private bankers, Alistair and Jamie, who have the world at their feet get their kicks from playing a 12 hour game of hunt, hide and seek with people from the margins of society. Their next target is Sean Macdonald a parentless teenager who lives with his sister on a housing estate on the outskirts of Edinburgh. She's in debt, he's going nowhere fast. Sean agrees to play for cash. He soon realises he's walked into twelve hours of hell where survival is the name of the game. Written by
It's lethal playing hide and seekie . . . in the labyrinthine streets of Auld Reekie.
Writer-director Richard Jobson, known to music fans (especially Scottish music fans) as the ex-front man of The Skids, has been doing pretty well for himself since his move into the movie business. His directorial debut, the BAFTA- winning 16 Years Of Alcohol, gave him a good start but New Town Killers seems to have given him a decent standing directly in the midst of critical success AND audience acceptability. It may not have exactly set the box office alight but there's a lot here for audiences to enjoy and it's certainly a decent little movie ripe for discovery in the home entertainment market.
The story has a bit more to it than what I will describe here but, essentially, is the tale of one young lad named Sean (James Anthony Pearson) who has to avoid being caught by Alistair (Dougray Scott) and Jamie (Alastair Mackenzie) for a whole night in order to win £12,000. That's all you need to know and, as others have pointed out, it IS basically a riff on The Most Dangerous Game set in Edinburgh.
It's funny how Jobson chooses to actually shoot the city of Edinburgh (my home and a favoured site to visit by many around the world), often leaving out many of the more recognisable sights in favour of an anonymity and confusing blur of vaguely-hinted at backgrounds while we watch Sean keep running ahead of his pursuers. Yet, there are also many moments involving places it would be impossible to hide and I have to admit that this added to the pleasure of watching the movie, purely for my own sense of pride.
After a stylish intro sequence things settle in to the rather more mundane style we often see in British cinema but, it must also be said, there are a few moments that genuinely shine and a lot of the scenes have a polish while still retaining an underlay of grit so it's a good balancing act on display.
The script is okay and the performances varied (the leads are consistently good but the supporting cast is hit and miss) but you really can't watch this movie without being blown away by Dougray Scott; not only does he get the majority of the best lines but he delivers them so brilliantly that he really is the focal point of every scene he's in. One monologue, in particular, stands out for me as one of the best and most jaw-dropping in modern cinema. It really is THAT good.
I hope this movie does find an audience as it deserves to be enjoyed by a lot more people than the ratings/figures here on IMDb would suggest. It's far from perfect but has many good, individual parts that make it well worth a watch, especially if you're a fan of British cinema.
See this if you like: The Most Dangerous Game, Night Of The Running Man, District 13.
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