Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Not A Day Too Soon

Well, I did say I'd do this yesterday, but hey, who gives a crap? Not I. But the fact that I haven't really written reviews in any shape or form for a while gives me an extra little push to spill the bile I've been holding back on the two nasties I saw on the weekend. Let her rip.

[Spoilers!] I'll tell ya, straight up: I saw Straightheads simply because it stars Gillian Anderson. I know, it's shocking that cockney geezer Danny Dyer or the cliched revenge plot weren't the factors that pulled me in. Anywho, since falling for the lovely Gillian when she starred in the BBC's magnificent adaptation of Bleak House, I think I'd watch her in anything (I should really check out The X-Files, I suppose), and her continued committance to the British film industry is fantastic. That said, I do wish she'd committed herself to something with any semblance of respect or quality. Miss Anderson's uneven but powerful turn is the sole reason that the horrendous Straightheads doesn't get a straight-up F. Basic story is: Gillian goes to party with the guy who installed her alarm system (Dyer), and on the way back they piss off some gruesome men by overtaking them and are subsequently subject to a beating which leaves Dyer half blind, and a rape that makes Gillian look like her guts have been yanked out and waved in front of her face. When convolutions lead to Gillian encountering one of the attackers again, she and a rather reluctant Dyer go on a revenge mission.

Now, it's not the gruesome violence that made me so distressed by Straightheads, though seeing a rather large gun being rammed up someone's ass is hardly appetising. Straightheads is a dishearteningly useless film, an exploitative mess: there is no pyschological insight here, just schematic deliberations, and a bizarrely sexist mangling of events so that, even though she's the one that insigated events, Gillian's character comes out looking the hero while Dyer goes over the edge. So, what's the message here? Women have a point of morality but men are just horrific creatures? As soon as the credits rolled on Straightheads I leaped out of my seat, and I wasn't the only one. Straightheads is a hollow, cretinous piece of work that I'd advise everyone to keep well away from- especially Gillian Anderson. Grade: D-

All together a different creature is the glossy Hollywood 'thriller' Fracture, which certainly lives up to its name. I'm notably not a fan of Anthony Hopkins, and to my mind Hannibal Lecter is one of his absolute worst creations, and so you'll understand my distress when I saw that his character here is virtually Hannibal without the desire to devour flesh. Which is just as well, because the main flesh on offer here is Ryan Gosling, whose turn as a cocky young lawyer is perhaps the best thing on offer here, if you discount the rather elliptical opening titles (oh, the promise!). Hopkins shoots his wife (a wasted Embeth Davidtz) and then somehow weasels out of being slammed for it, for whatever reason focusing on Gosling as an opponent and driving the youngster to the brink. But Fracture has no surprises, no chilling moments, no sense of unease or danger, and subplots including Rosamund Pike's new boss appropriately stick through the film like pieces of glass. It all looks very appealing, though. Grade: C-

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