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An unusual movie this one: a socially dysfunctional hit-man called
Charles (Brian Levine) decides to retire to Cannes and has best laid
plans train-wrecked by the other Brits out in the sun. Levine plays
straight-man to very funny Essex-girl Lisa (Celia Muir) and we're not
sure to begin with what Charles is paying her for (it's a great early
scene ). Charles likes her but doesn't know she's got a nasty mo-hawked
tattooed squeeze from Liverpool (played by Denny - Darren Bransford).
They try to scam Charles by renting out his Cannes house to French
families and pocketing the proceeds. Charles has all of his savings
stolen by a couple of con-men (Lee Cheney and James Privett) who are
like a Cockney double-act and don't realize Charles is going to hunt
them down to get back his money. Charles's big error is to let his
younger rival Clancy (played by Kate Loustau) know he's retiring which
makes Clancy come out to France to look for Charles and his money.
It says on the DVD that it's like Lock Stock or Tarantino but it's actually not really like them that much although there are shades of Tarantino in the cool funky soundtrack (Adam Langston): Maybe there's something a bit Coen brothers about it. What it is is budget black and white and truly original. It's also very funny - like one of the reviews says 'it makes you laugh your ass off.' Levine and McManus put together a nice script which only wobbles as everything unwinds, but the final twists are cool and surprising. There's one massive flashback scene which contains as much death and destruction as some action movies plus anyone with a cat or a hatred of profanity better think twice about watching this.
So Kris McManus has directed, shot and edited a smart, nicely-set-up rampage through a lovely part of the world with an unknown cast who do a smooth job.
It's real Brit wit. And the black and white doesn't hurt either.
I had the pleasure of watching this film recently and it's a gem. A low
budget British comedy-thriller that belies the production budget with
flair from everybody concerned. Filmed virtually all in black and
white, the camera work is excellent (particularly of the locations)
matched by the acting which actually does make you give a damn about
the characters. there are one or two snippets of wooden delivery by one
character in particular, but it actually enhances that character's
seeming inability to relate to 'ordinary people' in a social setting.
I have given it maximum rating because productions like this truly not only deserve it...but need it, lest they remain criminally overlooked.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Tarantino meets Ritchie" is a quote by Riviera Radio used on the
poster for this film. Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie are two of my
favourite directors so, naturally, I was intrigued and I watched the
trailer for the film and I quite enjoyed it. It seemed to be a tongue-
in-cheek gangster comedy worth checking out. I was particularly amused
by the witty title cards used in the trailer which read: 'A French noir
full of English people'. After watching the movie, I think the
trailer was more enjoyable to watch.
The movie was reasonably enjoyable, but it ends up being a good way to kill an hour-and-a-half rather than being a movie I'd watch again. It's full of a host of quirky and unusual characters and a relatively funny script, but none of the characters seem to be the 'real deal'. The dialogue delivery of some of the characters, especially 'Charles', played by Brian A. Levine, and 'Clancy', played by Kate Loustau, seems forced, unnatural and laughable, although the dialogue itself is at times quite witty and funny.
I would probably have ended up liking the film, if it wasn't for the last 10-20 minutes. The script is unusual, which works in its favour, but it seems the writers may have struggled to complete the story arcs of the film's several characters, so instead they opted for killing everyone off (well almost everyone). I think 'Charles's love life (or lack thereof) was a feeble attempt to create an emotional backbone to a quirky crime thriller full of characters that aren't very redeemable (all except 'Lisa' played by Celia Muir).
The visual effects are pretty good (for a low budget movie). Kris McManus doesn't over use the visual effects and when he does, they at least serve a purpose. For example, for comedic purposes: when 'Raymond' shoots the cat, or for character development: 'Charles's flashback to when he kills David Cross. The music and style of editing is reminiscent of a Guy Ritchie movie, but it does help the story structure and development in terms of pace. The black and white element of the film helps make it somewhat original, or at least a bit distinguished, but in the end, the film ends up feeling like a pale imitation of something by Tarantino or Ritchie.
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