44 Inches of... well... a big fat piss me off disappointment.

Michael Caine has a tidy chapter in his book, Acting in Film, about the importance of writing. Now I am at the very least paraphrasing here, but in the chapter he writes that all of his Oscar nods and favourite performances he attributes solely to good writing, and that when a writer has done his or her job with rigorous imagination and cohesive playable dialogue, an actor is left with nothing but living the writer's vision, instead of having to create something around some bad writing.

So, when 44 Inch Chest came across the counter while entering it into the system for rental, having heard nothing about it previously, my first instinct was to wonder where the hell I had been. "From the writers of SEXY BEAST," reads the case. What!!? Sexy (mother-effing-bad-ass) Beast, easily one of my favourite films for both writing and performance. One of those films I must watch once a year to remind me of how cool film can be. Also on the case of 44 Inch Chest lists an ensemble cast containing four of my most admired film actors of all time. John Hurt, who's performance in 1984 still chills me with his nuanced oppression in the infamous Big Brother bound world of the Orwellian film adaptation; Ian McShane, who's Deadwood balls-to-the-wall performance as Swearengen might be one of the most entertainingly rich characters ever; Ian Wilkinson, who I still think should have won Best Supporting Actor back in 2008 for his perfectly constructed performance of a manic lawyer descending into insanity in Michael Clayton; and the topper, Sexy Beast vet, Ray Winstone, who first blew me away with his portrayal of the ultimate low-life of low-lives, in Gary Oldman's directorial debut Nil by Mouth, in which if you just want to watch Ray Winstone get drunk and pissed off, this is a much better film than 44 Inch Chest.
So these four down right awesome actors, in a film by the same writers of an utterly captivating gangster film, that will forever pick up steam in it's cult status. It can't be bad. It just can't. The equation is just too damn steady.

You know that feeling you get when you pick up a cup and start downing it thinking it's a glass of water and it turns out to be day old coffee that's just below room temperature?

I can give it to the writers only for the premise, one of which I can relate to, only imaginatively of course... Dude gets cheated on by his wife, he gets drunk, gets his buddies together and beats the shit out of the guy who his wife has been banging, with the ultimate intention of killing him. The possibilities are endless for the exploration of what 'honour' may or may not be in these modern times.
No bite on that one.

There is simply no structure to this film whatsoever: beginning, middle, and end - pretty sure that one's covered in any elementary writing class, let alone the five act play structure. There is no rhyme or reason given to the history of these guys knowing each other and to top it why they are so dedicated to Winstone's character's nihilistic revenge plan. The dialogue is trite and excessive, riddled with monologues that have a disgusting feeling of therapeutic vomit, and granted they are performed quite well, particularly McShane's character's diatribe on his callous relationship to love, they are still excessive and unsupported by any real story.

We all know that feeling of really looking forward to seeing something. We set aside a night, we make tacos, we lock the kids in their bedrooms, we hit 'ignore' on the cellphone when our family and friends call, get into the PJs and under the blanky, turn the lights down just right and hit play on the player... and then the movie just down right sucks. Well yeah. 44 inches of... well... just a big fat ass disappointment. I just felt sorry for the film.


Withnail said...

I hope the lack of comments means that no one is going to watch this.
Mission accomplished.

La Sporgenza said...

Ya... get use to the no comment thing Withnail, I normally get deafening silence too. If you want a response, just insult somebody or decline their proposed time off. Works for me everytime.

I had this film home, but didn't watch it. Glad now.

Should have been titled 44" Waist by the sounds of it.

Get it? .....Waste/Waist?


Withnail said...

that is good.

Niki Diamonds said...

Wow, I didn't get bored reading this. You are amazing. Vote Niki FB East Manager!

the coelacanth said...

glad to have you back, shaun. your review seems better than the film itself.

by the way, "withnail" is a way better handle than "august low", good move.