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|Index||19 reviews in total|
I hope as many people as possible are given the opportunity to see this
gem of an independent movie from a first time director. This is further
proof that you do not need a massive budget or international superstars
to make a genuinely interesting film that challenges and entertains at
the same time.
Someone told me this week that it is easier to get a film made than to get a film distributed. I don't know if this is true or not but I am delighted that people cared enough to get this film made and screened.
Nothing about this film is conventional and it is difficult to describe it without giving too much away but imagine "Men in Black" made by Charlie Kaufman. Or "Don't Look Now" made by Terry Gilliam. That might give you some idea.
We all have skeletons in our cupboards and these are the "Skeletons" referenced in the film's title. Don't expect crucifix-wielding exorcisms but prepare for a refreshing, intelligent suggestion of how people could look at their lives.
This film is not perfect but is certainly worth searching out.
Most films with high concept values require a Herculean level of
suspension of disbelief to prevent the what-ifs becoming a ceaseless
stream of yeah-rights.
Quite often, a movie concept to which a viewer is asked to subscribe turns out to be poorly conceived and badly constructed. The movie then suffers from something I like to call China Syndrome: The concept is as far fetched as a bucket of chit from China.
Skeletons, although possessed of one of the most original move concepts I've ever seen, right from the opening scene, presents its concept in such a matter of fact and unassuming manner that the viewer is instantly on board. Even if, initially, you won't have a clue what's going on you will know that whatever is happening is happening for a reason and the world will somehow be a better place because of it.
Although many strange, unexplained and downright bizarre things happen in the film there wasn't, for me, any moment or event I felt required further questioning, it all seemed so natural and even the really odd things I couldn't immediately figure out were, in the context of the concept, sure to have an obvious and easily justifiable answer.
Brilliantly cast with excellent directing and if you don't 'get' Skeletons you have to understand, it's not the film, it is most probably you. Maybe there's something blocking your ability to enjoy stuff. Perhaps you ought to call someone in ?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In an unspecified time and place, we follow the occupational hazards of
Mr Davis and Mr Bennet (Ed Gaughan and Andrew Buckley), two psychic
cleaners removing 'Skeletons' from their clients' cupboards via the use
of antiquated ghost-busting equipment.
Their work eventually leads them to the countryside doorstep of an eccentric middle class family who want to know the whereabouts of their missing father. Things start to go awry for the dynamic duo when they locks horns with mute, wayward daughter, Rebecca (Tuppence Middleton), and their bear-with-a-sore-flat-cap boss, the Colonel (Jason Isaacs), who grumpily intervenes on their assignment.
Writer/director Nick Whitfield's feature debut is a real, genuine oddity, the like of which is all too rare in these dark days of CGI mush and 3-D bombastics. It's witty and engaging script contains enough twists, surreal flourishes and lovably offbeat characters to give the Terry Gilliams and David Lynchs of this world a slap about the creative chops, whilst asserting an individual freshness and authority that is indebted to no one.
The long-running, real life stand-up-comic act of Gaughan and Buckley is a knockout coup for Whitfield, as the twosome's familiarity and natural chemistry with each other shines through no end giving their scenes a sincerity and depth that lesser films can only dream about. The uniformly excellent cast insures they're in fine company, with special mention going to Paprika Steen, whose off-centre turn in the role of mum Jane, is very affecting indeed.
Zac Nicholson's sterling camera-work is every bit as inventive and ambitious as the story, injecting each and every frame with proper cinematic punch, mounting the film head and shoulders above the vast majority of British movies that too often settle for a visual style more suited to television than the big screen.
On the downside, Simon Whitfield's unusual (sometimes inappropriately placed) score, is over used to grating effect, as are the moments featuring Gaughan's 'couch-trips' back to his childhood. This repetition of sound and images exposes the obvious budgetary restrictions, giving the piece some noticeable rough edges that it really doesn't deserve.
That aside, this is one of the most charming and moving indie Brit-flicks since god knows when, and one that I urge everyone to see and support to insure a lengthy, and much deserved cinema run and DVD shelf-life.
I had the pleasure & privilege of seeing 'Skeletons' with a Q&A session featuring the cast in London's west end recently, and along with the rest of the audience, was delighted to be candidly informed that the 'Skeletons' crew are about to regroup for a comedy set during WW1. Bring it on!
I had the pleasure of catching this great little gem of a film. I found
it to be charming and engaging. The two main characters are physically
the type you'd never see headlining an American film. They work as
investigators for a company rooting out skeletons from their client's
closets. The main characters banter back and forth between assignments,
and only in reading other reviews here did I find out these two are a
comedy duo. This helps their chemistry on screen and moves the film
A standout is Tuppence Middleton, who plays her daughter role with luminosity. The screenplay doesn't give her much, but she's ready when it does. Expect more good things from her.
Another standout character was the main character's boss. (He looks and sounds strikingly like Timothy Dalton.) While watching this film, I was reminded somewhat of Inception. Unlike that film's gun-blazing dream logic, here you get a well-explored charming British version. They are quick to establish it, flesh it out and for the bulk of the movie, dance for the sheer joy of dancing with it. The small cast each give great performances.
I am rating this highly because I know I'd sit through this movie again. I'd sit through a series of movies based on the world that's created and explored here. I was left at the end hoping they already had a sequel in the can, or perhaps an entire British TV series of hour long episodes. This movie is based on a premise that hasn't *quite* been handled this way. The director shoots it well, and with the single exception of a slightly overused musical cue, it came across to me as perfect.
One word sums up this movie: wow!
What an unbelievably fantastic movie this turned out to be. I had initially expected it to be some sort of comedy, but "Skeletons" turned out to be much more than just your average comedy. Sure there are funny elements to the movie, but it also deals with a much deeper thing than to just make you laugh. It deals with ordinary people and ordinary problems, plus two very extraordinary people - Simon and Bennett.
The story told in "Skeletons" was really phenomenal. It was really a fresh breath of air to the movie business. In the movie you have these people who can literally go into people's closets and see what skeletons and baggage is stored there. Sort of like a personal and spiritual enlightenment and cleansing if you will; enter Simon and Bennett. But the story also goes one step beyond the story of Simon and Bennett's extraordinary abilities, and tell the story of a family suffering from tragic events, events that were very easy to relate to somehow.
Now Simon (played by Will Adamsdale) and Bennett (played by Andrew Buckley) are two very ordinary men with extraordinary talents. And the way that Adamsdale and Buckley play their characters is right on the money. You can relate to their characters and they really come of a vibrant characters on the screen. This really goes to prove, that you don't need huge and glamorous Hollywood names to insure a good movie. Hats off to Adamsdale and Buckley, because they did a phenomenal job in "Skeletons". Now, they weren't alone to carry the movie, Jane (played by Paprika Steen) was also a very memorable character. All the characters in the movie were actually memorable and very lovable, because they were down to earth, ordinary people just like the rest of us. And that really made the movie work so well.
And the music in the movie was quite good as well, it had a very "gypsy-like" feel to it, adding a very weird and mysterious touch to the movie. So the score for the movie was really well composed and in tune with the story of the movie.
The director, Nick Whitfield, has honestly managed to put a very unique and beautiful movie together here. And if this is what to be expected from his next movie, then I am definitely looking forward to that one as well.
If you haven't gotten yourself acquainted with "Skeletons" yet, you definitely need to get into gear, because this movie is worth checking out. It is a very memorable and beautiful movie, and you will not be disappointed with this one. Thumbs up, way, way up for "Skeletons".
I came across this totally by accident and was very surprised there hadn't been more of a buzz about this great film. Best film I have seen for a long time and it must be one of the best ever British films. Creates a weirdly familiar alternative universe which we accept despite ourselves. Very original. Proof that you don't need a big budget or star names to create an interesting, amusing and very successful film. This deserves to be seen by a large audience. It isn't fast paced but the lack of exposition keeps it rolling along nicely. The acting is excellent and for a first time director this is amazingly well imagined and put together. I'm looking forward to the director's next effort.
This beautifully unique and idiosyncratic film reminded me of a low-budget Brit version of "Inception", dispensing with the grandiose score, the overblown special effects, the derivative gun fights and car chases and the constant exposition to just strip it down to two guys in suits with briefcases walking around the British countryside and dealing with the same themes of dreams, memory, loyalty and loss. Totally original, it makes no concessions, doesn't explain anything (not, for instance, grinding to a halt every 20 minutes to explain/contradict the plot like, you know, some other film I could mention). You just have to go with it, accept its bizarre internal logic and not over-think things. Nonetheless, one of the most memorable and intriguing films I've seen for a while, with a great cast. Standout for me was Paprika Steen who I thought was SENSATIONAL: earthy, mature and downright sexy. It's a damning indictment of the entertainment industry that she's not better know. Mind you, I could say the same of this film. Be brave: give it a go and surrender to its skewed and surreal charms, because it has charm and imagination a-plenty.
I have been going through the alphabet doing a film each letter, and I
came across this gem.
The characters are extremely well filled out and believable. The plot is simple but draws you, even with quiet a quirky main part with the characters jobs seem relatively ordinary and believable through out. It also shows what can be done with only cast members. The ending is a little weak, but expected and does wrap the story up nicely.
Would recommend this to pretty much everyone as a good watch. Its not action packed, but you never fell that it is dragging. Will be keeping my eye out for other films of this type.
Things start out oddly in this film and it is a way that they pretty
much continues for the rest of the film. We join two odd British
characters who take the service they provide to clients around the UK
with all the enthusiasm and customer-care that you would expect from
travelling service people quite tired of their lot. The service they
provide, we gradually learn, is to extract secrets from the psychic
channels in the house for people who want all their skeletons out of
their closet. It is an odd skill and one which the bitter Simon abuses
as he spends his free time accessing the warm, safe memories he has
rather than living in the moment. When their boss gives them an unusual
job, they come up against challenges, but solving them could prove to
Although it takes a minute to get a grip on what is happening, I did like the way that the film doesn't do a lot of exposition for the viewer but rather lets us work it out by watching. Likewise I liked that the detail of the how's and what's was just left there along with the technical dialogue because in a way these things don't really matter once you have the idea. And it is a good idea and it does translate into a nice film that is interesting throughout. Sadly that's where my descriptive words tail off because I wasn't left with much more than that. I did "like" the film but yet not as much as I had hoped and it never went beyond being "interested" in it it didn't ever move me or excite me.
I know for some that the oddity of it all will be part of the reasons they love it but for me that was not enough and I found myself waiting for the film to deliver on these interesting concepts and odd atmosphere. It kinda does but again only in a way that is oddly interesting, not brilliant or really engaging. As a drama I wanted it to have more to move me or hold my attention. As a comedy it is gently comic but never more than this. Like I said, it is an odd film whose downfall is that it is odd to the point that this oddity is the only quality where one feels it is delivering on to its fullest potential. It is hard to describe and I'm sure those that love the film will rage at me but I've not really been able to find any comments by people who love this film that do not include a lot about how "wonderfully odd" it is or similar comments about how refreshing it is and how much better than Hollywood etc etc. Different can be good but different is mostly just different.
The performances are great though. Adamsdale and Buckley are both good together and also produce odd characters without losing sight of them being real people at heart they are not played for laughs because of who they are, although the laughs may come. They are matched in their weirdness by Isaacs, Middleton, Steen and a few others, all of whom do good work and seem to judge their performances well for the material and tone of the film, I just wished the material had been a little stronger in terms of what the film was trying to do with the ideas (beyond being odd).
So Skeletons turns out to be an interesting little curio that has good ideas and a very odd and comic tone. It doesn't produce a lot of laughs, drama, thrills or emotion though and, as much as I liked the weird feel and the plot, I did keep wanting it to delivery something else to me but it is something that (if you haven't already guessed) I'm struggling to put my finger on.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Bickering best friends Davies (Ed Gaughan) and Beckett (Andrew Buckley) make a living from psychically uncovering the skeletons in people's closets. Metaphorical skeletons, but real closets. As the intense Davies nears a nostalgic meltdown, his amiable, lumbering companion yearns for a normal existence, and their boss (a gruff, northern Jason Isaacs, in a flat cap) eyes them for promotion, they're pitched into the trickiest case of their career. The film starts off in a precise, literate comic manner, with hilarious scenes of obscure bureaucracy and awkward revelations, then gets stranger and stranger as it progresses. Though the whydunit isn't terribly mysterious, the film's frequent dips into the world of weird - dizzying diversions that drop the characters into one another's dreams and reminiscences - are satisfyingly original, the largely unknown cast is excellent and the film never forgets to be funny. "Going Bulgarian" must be my favourite comic invention of the decade so far.
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