At last, I finally get round to doing a review! Well, it was my new year’s resolution to do a review for every movie I see this year and it’s a good start. Thanks to SeeFilmFirst snatched myself a freebie to see 44 Inch Chest it was going to be a double bill header with The Road but muggings here got the start time wrong for that one!
After only watching the trailer I posted on this blog I honestly didn’t know much about this movie. But when you read up on this movie and see the script team behind the highly successful Sexy Beast, it definitely turned my head in direction of the movie.
Colin Diamond (Ray Winstone) is your average London “diamond geezer” (pardon the pun). He is a man’s man one of the boys, a stereotypic Car dealer/ gangster the world is his oyster, but when the movie kicks off with the opening scene you wouldn’t think so.
This opening scene is so brilliantly done starts with a ramsacked house with Harry Nilsson’s “Without You” (the national anthem of dumped lovers) tune on repeat playing in the background. The camera pans down to find Colin staring into the roof lying flat on the floor with cuts and tears his only thanks. At this point we know something has happened but what? Forward onto Colin arriving home with bunch of flowers& Chocolates in hand for Liz his wife (Joanne Whalley) for only her to inform him shes doesnt love him and leaving for another man.
Unable to cope Colin rallys his troops around him, to kidnap the loverboy take him to an old rundown eastend London house, beaten up,locked up in a cupboard until he can decide what to do with him and his missus. The pulling thing for this movie is the cast and what four better actors to play as your cockney amigos:
Archie (Tom Wilkinson) his reliable right hand man possibly his closet friend, Meredith (Ian McShane) the hedonistic gay friend who is intelligent, but also damn right violent and nasty when has to. Mal (Stephane Dillane) is next up aggressive son of Peanut who is anxious and always willing to do a deed for a friend. But the best of the bunch for me was Old Man Peanut (John Hurt), he is your old fashioned gangster geezer nasty, vulgar, brutal and thinks his wife is only good at home.
If you’ve ever been easily offended by swearing in movies I would tick this one of your list of flicks to watch. The usage of swear words is very high especially C**T word and old peanut’s vocabulary it was a word he said regularly and with pride, the only hot girl from Kick-Ass looks like she’ll give the old boy a run for his money. Whatever you think of the swearing what it did you bring a sense of black humour to the affray along with superb banter between the 4 henchmen. Only Meredith gave Old Peanut a run for his money with his camp quirky funny lines which did show that he was gay but could still be a nasty person.
Tradition, honour, loyalty and old-style masculinity is what is on show here, possibly what masculinity they lack. Though you want to feel sorry for Colin as he opens his heart up to all “He’s done nothing wrong”, ” the wife is the adulterer has a new younger model” it clearly shows Colin is more in touch with his indecisive time of grief than his masculine one. There is little clues throughout movie show Colin is capable of been nasty c**t as old peanut would say.
44 inch chest is an intense as well as claustrophobic movie broke up nicely and most of the action does only take place in one room setting up for a fine solo performance from Ray Winstone as that broken man. Colin goes through every single emotion in the book when he asks his compadres to leave him alone with loverboy(Melvil Poupaud), this is also when we see some of the best banter of movie. We sway through scenes as if Colin & Loverboy are transported into colin’s home, Liz suddenly appears you don’t know whats real and whats not.
This is a violent gangster movie but not in the physical sense. It goes back to swearing as the four musketeers constantly bombard loverboy with monster verbal assault but it also worked as a psychologically. As Colin tries to get his shit together in the head the foursome takes turns to plod Colin into a slow nasty revenge but when they are on their own the verbal becomes more of moral support.
Overall 44 Inch Chest is a fantastic dark gangster flick fully of originality, a breath of fresh in an overused genre. By using only one location for the movie gives the whole flick a theatre-rescue play feel, which actually intensifies the whole movie. Fantastic performances from all involved especially Ray Winstone, 44 Inch Chest typifies an account of broken male ego which many don’t guys can’t seem to open up their emotional state of mind. Dark, Psychological, vulgar and funny.
★★★1/2| Paul Devine
crime, drama | UK, 2009 | 18 | 15th January 2010 (UK) | Momentum Pictures |Dir.Malcolm Venville |Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, John Hurt , Tom Wilkinson, Joanne Walley, Melville Poupaud