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With a budget of just £500,000, I'm going to try not to be too harsh on this film, the acting was good and the concept was also not too bad (although not original). The execution however, well, that was a let-down. This British film had the ability to be a superstar but just failed to be.
The plot and indeed the majority of the film is simple. A straight laced man pays a ruthless and dangerous detective to kidnap a man he believes to be having an affair with his wife. This was all well and good up to this point, set in a warehouse in the middle of nowhere, with a very dangerous man on the scene, you really feel for the man sat in the middle of the warehouse with a sack over his head. However, this part really really drags (as does the whole film but I'll get onto that in a bit), with them toing and froing over irrelevant filling 'you should do this' 'should I do this' 'yes, you should do that'. All that kind of thing going on. I found that after I read the blurb on Sky movies I really wanted to watch it, and it did grab my attention, but this was short lived and I had soon lost any excitement I had about watching it after 10 or 15 minutes.
The set doesn't change, and the entire film is set in this warehouse. While this can work for some films, I just didn't think it worked here. With only 4 characters in the entire film (and a few extras at the very end), it needed more than one set, 4 characters and a script which seemed repetitive.
I had read on the blurb that it had a witty and wordy but clever script and plot. I think they were perhaps watching a different film to me. I'm not going trying to aspire to being a professional film critic, but I have watched an awful lot of films in the past and also studied them at degree level so feel justified in what I am saying (somewhat!).
There are a few twists in the film but nothing massive and to be honest I did see a few of them coming as clues had been given along the way and as a viewer you simply had to connect the dots. Although the film was weak, the acting was good and certainly believable. The kidnapped man (Martin Compston) has been in a few British dramas on the BBC recently and he was really believable in the part he played. The detective/kidnapper (Sean Pertwee) was also good, again he has been in a few things and you will certainly recognise him, he does seem to drag the script out a bit but I think this is the script writer and Director rather than the actor himself. The straight laced guy (Craig Conway) who has ordered the kidnapping is a bit of a drip and I found him slightly annoying, he was probably the weakest member of the cast and went from being a drip one minute to getting courageous the next, and while I think this was meant to be believed by the viewer, I just found it a bit false and over acted. The kidnapped woman (Kierston Wareing) again will be recognised if you watch British drama. She was very good and the characters personality was rather surprising and not what I was expecting. She was probably the best part of the film.
Imdb.co.uk has given this a score of 3.6/10 by 305 votes so it would seem I'm not alone in my thoughts. Yes the budget was tremendously low and in this respect it did very well, however in my opinion it was the script that let it down. Slow and repetitive I wondered how I had managed to limp towards the finish line of this film and I think it was purely so I could review it! Don't expect action or a fast paced film, the last 5 minutes is probably its best.
The film is violent in areas but nothing you haven't seen before and to be honest, this is the only thing that keeps the film limping along.
In my opinion, had this been a short film it would most likely have excelled. It could have achieved everything it wanted to in around 30 minutes, however dragging it into an 85 minute long film was perhaps down to an over enthusiastic Director who couldn't see what was best for the concept. Either that or it needed more action and other stories going on at the same time.
So today is my day off and searching through Sky Anytime this film "four" popped up as one of the options. Merely described as a psychological thriller, I thought why not for a daytime watch, better now than at night time anyway!
*** Plot ***
Just as an intro to understand the film better we have 4 characters who I will refer to in this film:
1. Hubby out for revenge (Conway)
2. Kidnapper (Pertwee)
3. Mr bag - the man who has been having an affair with our vengeful husbands wife (Compston)
4. Our cheating wife (Wareing)
The film opens with 2 men. Craig Conway is fed up with his wife's affair and has hired Sean Pertwee our sarcastic kidnapper to capture this man to teach him a lesson. Conway is in an office until he gets a call from Pertwee that he's got him. When asked if the man was scared Pertwee replies "oh yeah he loves being beaten up and shoved into a boot!" This pretty much sets the scene and character for Pertwee's violent but amused approach throughout this film.
Craig Conway is clearly a man with money who likes to think of himself as the "boss" but isn't even sure what he intends to do. Set in an isolated warehouse with no one around, Pertwee then tells Conway he should also bring his wife to teach her a lesson too as otherwise she will repeat the mistake. As Conway agrees, Pertwee surprises him and says good, as she has already been brought.
So first out comes mr bag-on-head. (literally he has a bag on his head for the first 25 minutes! That and the other characters actually refer to him as Mr Bag lol) Asked why is he here, he of course says he doesn't know in his thick Scottish accent. Onset a series of interrogation and beatings with mr bag-on-head saying they have got the wrong person, he has a brother they have confused him with. Where does the brother live? What football team does he support? Where did he last go on a foreign holiday? Questions our poor mr bag on head cannot answer.
With the revelation mr bag-on-head apparently has no brother and is lying our vengeful husband hits him and removes the bag of course looking stunned at the bloody mess he has caused and retreats. After convincing from Mr Pertwee as to why he went through all this trouble, hubby Conway returns and fires more questions at mr bag until he finds out where he met his wife, and where they had their dealings. Still hurt and confused he tells mr bag he is never to see his wife again and exits.
Pertwee then takes hubby to a different part of the warehouse where is wife is. Sitting on a chair with a bag over her head, our kidnapper leaves them to it with strict instructions....DO NOT TAKE THE BAG OFF HER HEAD. So now our angered and enraged hubby asks her countless questions and curses after her which all is met with no response. At breaking point now he removes the bag off her head to hit her only looking stunned. She responds "who the f*?! are you?" (Pardon my french!)
All is now revealed that this isn't his wife, and running back to the other end of the warehouse our previous mr bag and kidnapper helper have disappeared from the warehouse. So what on earth is going on here exactly?!
*** My Opinion ***
The entire film is set in a warehouse so is quite dark and gloomy but I would in no way call this film a thriller as I certainly wasn't scared in the slightest lol. It has many twists and turns which kept me anticipated as to where this film was headed and what on earth was happening! However, not long after our mistaken wife starts to talking to her "husband" calling him everything under the sun I had slightly started to figure out what was going on. But nevertheless more drama ensues and truth unravels and I was just suspicious of all 4 characters!
A lot of scenes in the film seem to centre around a faulty lighter, which is highlighted as a point of interest and interaction between the characters trying to light a cigarette and using this as a continuous plot theme through each scene.
The acting was really good, and as a British film I thought the actors and the actress were all top notch. Pertwee is brilliant as a sarcastic and happy kidnapper, good at his job and interrogation but under no means a pushover. None of the characters have actual names throughout the whole film. Our man accused of sleeping with angry hubby's wife, otherwise referred to as Mr Bag is played by Martin Compston and he portrays his character well although have to say a bit talkative and when our kidnapper repeatedly tells him to shut the f*!@ up at times I agreed!
Our mistaken wife is played by the well known British actress Kierston Wareing, well known for many tv shows such as Sky 1's The Take, and I most recently have seen her in a BBC1 drama Inside Men and Ch4 drama Top Boy. She is absolutely amazing as always, and without giving away too much of her purpose in the film she delivers an amazing and powerful performance, especially with the ending!
By the way angry hubby is referred to as Mr four-letter-C-word by our mistaken wife (Kierston Wareing) through the remainder of the film. Played by Craig Conway he is good at being a confused man, not sure if he really wants revenge and if he has the guts to actually go through with his threats once the bag is removed from the victim's head.
The film maintains some fluency, albeit it is relatively short with a run time of only 85 minutes, but from the get go, the scenes are pacy and each scene more interesting and relevant than the last. It has a rating of 15 which I think is appropriate more so for the constant expletives throughout out this film more than the "graphic violence" scenes which really I would say there was perhaps only one scene a bit violent more than anything. I did think the ending was a bit abrupt and somewhat of a cliffhanger but I guess this just makes the film more questionable and left me thinking what would have happened!
Apparently this film had been made for £100,000 budget and was completely in one location in 17 days straight, which for this small budget and even smaller time scale I have to give it props where due as it is as effectively shot, portrayed and acted as well as any larger budget film and with a far better and interesting storyline than some of these mass american films which are produced!
As I have literally just watched it, I won't be in a hurry to run out and watch it again, but I would recommend it to those who enjoy a film that is interesting, with plot twists and really does have some solid British acting (even though I hadn't heard of any of the cast apart from Kierston Wareing before!). The DVD can be bought on amazon for £9.49 which I think is reasonable, or just catch it on sky movies like I did!