Mike Deacon, a tough, lone-wolf reporter discovers that things are not quite what they seem when a tramp is found dead in the garage of a beautiful woman. He enlists the help of an elderly ...
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Mike Deacon, a tough, lone-wolf reporter discovers that things are not quite what they seem when a tramp is found dead in the garage of a beautiful woman. He enlists the help of an elderly lawyer friend, a naïve photographer and a streetwise teenager during the investigation.Written by
Simon Shearn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I've had two wives and I fucked my brains out trying to express my love for both of them. It was a waste of time.
My dear fellow. So much fucking for so little result. How terribly exhausting for you!
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This is a complex story – perhaps too complex for its own good and some viewers. Drawn in, however, as I was after twenty minutes, I decided to press on to reach its resolution, even though I felt, at times, that the plot twists bordered on the absurd. My main reason for carrying on had nothing to do with the story: I was more interested in seeing an early offering from Clive Owen.
Anyway, the basic story is as follows: A woman, Amanda Powell (Joely Richardson), finds a dead homeless tramp, Billy Blake (Anton Lesser), in her garage. Strangely, she pays for his funeral even though she doesn't know him. Six months after that event, a loose-cannon-type reporter, Michael Deacon (Clive Owen), is given the job of interviewing Amanda as part of a newspaper series about the urban homeless of London. Deacon is quite pushy, even arrogant (Clive Owen does arrogance exceedingly well), during the interview. Most importantly, he is mystified why Amanda paid for the tramp's funeral; and she won't say.
So, naturally, he digs deeper and the real story starts when he discovers that Amanda had been married to a banker who'd disappeared eight years ago with ten million pounds: as the saying goes, follow the money. In addition, the gnawing issue of the dead tramp kept intruding: is there a connection between Billy and Amanda, after all? Why were his hands almost burned beyond use? And why did he die of starvation beside a frig full of food?
Too many questions and no answers for Deacon. Hence, together with the help from his photographer associate, Emma (Selena Cadell), a homeless street kid, Terry (Kevin Knapman) and others, Deacon finally arrives at a denouement that is plausible to a point but one that requires some extraordinary co-incidences. Now, I'm not against the use of coincidence in a story at all: I've experienced some exceedingly extraordinary coincidences in my life, and I've read about many more. I'm sure the same goes for you.
However, the trail of the missing ten million quid leads to another story which further leads to another story which, in turn, leads back to why that damn tramp died in the garage – much like unpacking a series of Russian dolls: hence, the quite oblique metaphor contained within the title of this movie. Strangely though, it all ties neatly together which attests to a well-constructed narrative and screenplay; although, one can be forgiven for seeing the shadow of Agatha Christie hovering in the wings.
Never mind: I was happy enough to see just how far Clive Owen could go with his nasty reporter attitude and how he resolves his own personal demons vis-à-vis his parents – a significant sub-plot that fleshes out the character of Michael Deacon. So, if you like Clive Owen, see this movie. Moreover, I was pleasantly surprised by Joely Richardson whom I'd not seen before this. Her performance matched Owen's perfectly.
Being a quality BBC production, it has all the finesse, finance and fittings that ensure a top-notch presentation. The Brits seems to churn out these gritty urban stories better than most, I think.
Give it seven out of ten. Recommended for all.
February 17, 2012
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