44 Inch Chest
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How far would you go to avenge betrayal? Colin Diamond (Ray Winstone, Sexy Beast) is about to find out in this gritty, provocative thriller. After he breaks down over the dissolution of his marriage, he kidnaps his wifes lover, and his rage pushes him to the brink of murder as his motley crew of buddies urges him to exact brutal revenge. Ian McShane (HBOs Deadwood), John Hurt (V for Vendetta), Tom Wilkinson (RocknRolla) and Stephen Dillane (Spy Game) unforgettably co-star in this compelling story that contemplates the nature of love and asks what it takes to be a man.
The writers behind Sexy Beast, David Scinto and Louis Mellis, pick up where they left off in 44 Inch Chest. Ray Winstone stars as Colin Diamond, a gangster with some fiercely protective friends. There's mercurial Mal (Stephen Dillane, The Hours), mama's boy Archie (Tom Wilkinson, The Ghost Writer), velvet-voiced Meredith (Ian McShane, Winstone's Beast-ly costar), and a misanthropic, marble-mouthed piece of work named Old Man Peanut (John Hurt at his greasiest). When Liz (Joanne Whalley, Scandal), Colin's wife of 21 years, reveals that she's leaving him for French waiter Loverboy (Melvil Poupaud, effective in a thankless role), Colin's pals decide to teach the lad a lesson. After they kidnap Loverboy, lock him in a wardrobe, and encourage Diamond to do his worst, photographer-turned-filmmaker Malcolm Venville flashes back to the previous evening's events (at least those concerning Colin, Liz, and Meredith). Mood lighting and rain-slicked streets aside, the film feels stage-bound due to the minimal establishing shots and David Mamet-like dialogue, including a self-deluding disquisition on marriage (to Colin, it means letting Liz "watch what she wants on the telly"). While Winstone's broken, yet brutal turn recalls his performance in Gary Oldman's Nil by Mouth, 44 Inch Chest starts out like a Guy Ritchie-style lark before heading off in a deeper direction. Those who look to British cinema for refinement and sophistication may wish to look elsewhere, but those who prefer the grit of Mike Hodges to the grace of Merchant Ivory would do wise to give this one a go. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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Top Customer Reviews
Colin doesn't take it like he's supposed to, according to society's laws. That is, he doesn't decide to just move on and sigh "C'est la vie." He beats her severely and she ends up having to jump through a glass door and crawl away to escape.
Turns out Colin has some rough and ready friends who kidnap Liz's lover, assault him, and lock him in a wardrobe. These are men who are fiercely loyal to Colin and seem to be willing/eager to kill Liz's lover if Colin so desires. The implication is that they are aging gangsters who go way back together. They conduct a mock trial of "Loverboy" in what appears to be an abandoned building located in a dark and seedy part of London.
Throughout, the "trial" is mixed with fantasies and flashbacks. There's a bit about Colin's anguished dreams. The acting is solid, with John Hurt giving a great interpretation of the Samson and Delilah story. But there's just too much profane chatter. The sets are too stark and lifeless. Yet, primarily due to the sterling cast, the film takes on a very heavy theme and comes off fairly well.