Friday, February 5, 2010
44 Inch Chest
When a man's wife cheats on him and leaves him for a younger and better-looking man, what should he do? If this happens in the South in America, he probably plays some country music backwards. But in England, as in Malcolm Venville's feature directorial debut "44 Inch Chest" (UK 2009 | 95 min.), he kidnaps the wife's lover with the help from his pals, and has a little chat.
When middle aged, big belly, and fuzzy beard Colin (Ray Winstone) comes home cheerfully with flowers in hands to his wife of 21 years Liz (Joanne Whalley), he is devastated by the news that she is leaving him for a young handsome bar tender. After a violent outburst, he wants revenge. He assembles his gangster buddies—the foul mouthed Old Man Peanut (John Hurt), the crafty homosexual Meredith (Ian McShane), the avuncular Archie (Tom Wilkinson), and the malevolent Mal (Stephen Dillane). They lock Liz's lover (Melvil Poupaud) into a wardrobe in a shabby building at a remote location in London, then try to decide what to do next. The old fashioned vengeance over a woman turns out to become a topsy-turvy rhapsody over Colin's mind.
The film is a platform for these excellent actors to have intriguing verbal exchanges. It creates a few interesting characters who all like to talk, talk, and talk even more. It is hilarious when Old Man Peanut poetically curses profanities as if he is citing Shakespeare.
However, the film looks like a stage production. Most scenes happen in a ragged empty room and people carry on their conversation from where they are sitting or standing. If they laid a couch in the room for Colin to lie on, it would be a decent and productive shrink visit, but without the doctor.