Newest Review: ... it is needed, and events unfold very quickly and then slow down very quickly. One of the bad points is perhaps that we are expected to ... more
The Boys Are Back in town!
The Boys Are Back (DVD)
Member Name: Jojoborne
The Boys Are Back (DVD)
Advantages: Well acted. Easy to watch
Disadvantages: No Penelope Cruz...seriously, could be a bit long winded for some.
Released in 2009 as an English and Australian joint production by Hanway Films, The BBC, AFFC, Screen Australia and Tiger Aspect.
Distribution by Miramax
Film and DVD review
Clive Owen plays Joe Warr, a sports journalist who lives in Australia with his wife Katy and their young son Arthur, who everyone knows as Artie.
Katy (played by Laura Fraser) is taken ill with terminal cancer and Joe nurses her through the bad times, faced by the prospect of being a single father. It is Joe's second marriage and he also has a teenage son, Harry, back in England.
The inevitable finally happens and Katy passes away. Artie is struggling to come to terms with his mother's death and Joe embarks on a mission, against Katy's mother's wishes, to take Joe away for a while on a road trip. Things don't work out so well and what follows is a man's struggle to bring up his tormented young son without the influence of his charismatic and strong wife.
Joe wants to be a proper father and not just one who sees his son after work at his in-laws house.
Meanwhile, Joe's other son has questions that he needs answering and asks if he can come to Australia. Joe meets him at the airport with Artie and another cycle of the story begins.
Not only is Joe dealing with grief, but his younger son is a handful to say the least and his teenage son, Harry wants to know why he left him when he was six years old.
Artie becomes attached to Harry and everything is looking rosy but Joe is finding it hard to keep up his work commitments. His boss tells him that he needs him to cover the Australian open tennis tournament and needs him to be at every game on centre court. Joe basically lies to his manager and writes the reports by watching the matches on TV. Then he gets a call that his boss will be at the final.
Joe can't find a baby sitter and is reluctant to ask his mother-in-law again after a fall out when asking the first time. He makes the ill-fated decision of leaving Harry in charge of Artie after Harry promises that he can do it.
A huge group of teenagers, older than Harry, cotton on to the fact that he is home alone with Artie. This can only mean one thing in their eyes....party!
Joe meanwhile has a confrontation in a bar and loses his mobile phone.
Not being able to get in touch with his father, Harry is frightened and hides in the house with Artie while the youths wreck the joint and smoke it as well. Artie finally gets his grandmother on the phone and her husband takes a frightened and demoralised Harry to the airport and he flies back to the UK.
Joe returns from the tennis tournament and is shocked at the state of the house. He finds Artie at his in-laws place. He calls Harry but gets an earful from his ex-wife saying that Harry does not want to speak to him ever again.
Joe and Artie fly to England in an effort to make it up with Harry. Will he speak to Joe? A clearing of the air is needed but Harry does not want to see his father. I'll leave the storyline here so you can see what the outcome is for yourself.
The Cast and Crew
The Director - Scott Hicks
Scott Hicks is most famously known, especially in Australia, for his brilliant screenplay on the movie 'Shine', starring the brilliant Geoffrey Rush. He lives in Australia but originally moved there from Uganda as a fourteen year old. I personally know him through being a Stephen King fan, as he directed the movie 'Hearts In Atlantis', which is based on King's book by the same name and stars Anthony Hopkins.
His work on this movie is to be applauded. It is a beautifully made film and some of the locations are absolutely stunning. His collaboration with cinematographer, Greg Fraser, makes for a backdrop of mystical sun sets and glorious sun rises, not to mention the mountains and deserts with their sweeping landscapes.
The movie flows along nicely and although primarily a dialogue based movie there are a lot of clever shots. In one scene Artie is looking out of the car window with swimming goggles on and the shot is filmed as if from Artie's point of view, with a border around the screen, which is meant to be the goggles. It is filmed so well you would also have to imagine whether Hicks fitted a small camera inside the goggles.
The camera moves well between characters and it is obvious from the performances that Hicks knows what he wants from his actors and some of the scenes are quite intense.
Clive Owen as Joe Warr
Clive Owen has slowly crept up my list of actors who can act over the last decade and has matured into a fine thespian with a strong screen presence. He is another actor that plays normal so well. As with his role in 'Closer', you can feel his pain and his awkwardness with his situation. Owen has one of those faces that you find easy to read and he wears the different emotions so well.
He plays Joe Warr extremely well and you really do feel for the character, even though he makes some pretty stupid decisions. You know that his heart is in the right place and you find yourself on his side. A great performance from this likeable English actor.
Nicolas McAnulty as Artie
The casting director on this movie was Nikki Barrett and one of her hardest parts of the job was to find a young child actor to play Artie, Joe's younger son. They saw over eight hundred children at auditions and when Nicolas turned up he was like a breath of fresh air. They had to find him at audition time as he was caught up in chatting to so many people. On meeting the movie's director, Scott Hicks, Nicolas sat down beside him and chatted away as if he had known him for years. Barrett had no problem in convincing Hicks that the young boy was right for the role.
Nicolas McAnulty plays Artie without fear and is so brilliant in the part that you don't really think of it as acting, which is a great testament to the child's upbringing and his parents should be commended.
The beginning of the movie must have been difficult for him as it is a beginning of tragedy and despair.
Portraying a little boy who has just lost his mother but doesn't really understand would be difficult for any child actor but for one so young, little Nicolas does a gem of a job.
Clive Owen really took to McAnulty and has been quoted as saying that he was petrified of working in a movie with kids but the six year old McNulty was a joy to work with and he ended up learning a lot about himself.
George MacKay as Harry
MacKay is a likeable young chap who starred in this movie as a seventeen year old. The first thing that struck me about him was the fact that I was sure his surname would turn out to be 'Grint'. He looks like the younger brother of Rupert Grint, who is famous for his role as 'Ron' in the 'Harry Potter' movies. I was quite disappointed when I found out his name as I was convinced.
He plays the role of Harry really well and some of the scenes with Clive Owen are really well acted and you can see that he will have a bright future ahead of him.
He starts out in the role as a sullen teenager who is unsure of the laid back lifestyle of a father who left him and his new young brother. He slowly starts to warm to them and you really want it to work out for him.
I'm positive that we will see more of this young chap, who is now twenty years old. He did star alongside Daniel Craig in 'Defiance' a year before making this movie and has since moved on to star in 'Hunky Dory', the musical movie, with Minnie Driver.
The DVD extras contain a short documentary 'A Father on Set with his two Sons', which contains interviews and clips from the movie. There is also a section of photographs which show the story of the movie in pictures.
The movie is one hundred minutes long and my region 2 Dutch copy, which is ex-rental, contains subtitles for the English, French and Dutch.
I rented the Blu Ray version of the movie and the quality is exceptionally good. The only disappointing factor was the extras. I was expecting some great interviews and more documentaries with behind the scenes stuff and maybe a commentary. Nothing of the sort was contained on the Blu Ray version and in fact the documentary from the standard region two DVD was ommited. you just get the photographs and a few deleted scenes.
I thought this was a charming little movie. It's a movie for a rainy Sunday afternoon (although I watched it on a Saturday afternoon). It is an easy film to watch and there are some good performances throughout.
There are some funny moments and some really sad moments. It shows you just how difficult life can be because of unforeseen events and how a person's world can be turned upside down in an instant.
I really liked Clive Owen in this movie and the two kids, McAnulty and MacKay, were absolutely superb. Some of the moments with Clive Owen on his own are really poignant as he still sees and talks to his dead wife. That may come over as really morbid but it is done in a nice way. hH asks her about decisions he should make regarding Artie. It is quite touching in places.
As far as the story or script goes, it works and is probably reminiscent of thousands of similar real life stories all over the world, so many single fathers will be able to relate to this as will many young boys who find themselves in a single-parent family.
I would recommend this for people who like to relax and watch a story unfold of its own accord and not stem from a contrived or convoluted plot or implode on itself due to needless action scenes to justify its own hype.
A family about normal people leading a normal life until everything is knocked on its head.
Not a fantastic movie but certainly one to watch and could be a little gem of a movie for some.
© Lee Billingham
Summary: A father struggles to cope after the death of his wife and learns all about how to be a parent.