Genre: Crime, Black Comedy Duration: 107 mins Director: Saul Rubinek Stars: Joe Mantegna, Sam Rockwell, William H Macy
Jerry and Tom is a sharp black comedy starring Joe Mantegna and Sam Rockwell as a hit man and his protege. In his first outing as director, Saul Rubinek proves a deft touch behind the camera as the story casually spans the ten year relationship between the two eponymous characters. Rubinek stays faithful to Rick Cleveland’s stage-play by situating most of the action in small unassuming interiors. Within this more personal environment, Rubinek achieves a nice balance between the humour and the tension which ultimately gives the film a real edginess. Mantegna is superb as the increasingly disillusioned Tom and Rockwell again shows his depth as he quite expertly captures Jerry’s sad and creepy transformation from a young naive man to a cold-blooded killer. There’s an interesting dynamic between the two characters, the likes of which is not often seen and it makes for some curiously compelling drama. Furthermore, a host of great cameo appearances from the likes of William H Macy, Charles Durning, and Ted Danson help to provide this drama with an especially solid basis of acting talent. There are a couple of more contrived moments which can happen when work is translated from stage to screen and Rockwell’s descent is perhaps too sharply realised. But it generates some dark tension and that is largely what everyone was aiming for here. You won’t revisit this one too often but you will go back once in a blue moon. Intriguing.
Rating: The Good – 80.1 Genre: Crime, Drama Duration: 98 mins Director: Joel & Ethan Coen Stars: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi
A series of hapless and vicious criminals come together in a kidnapping caper only to see their best laid plans going awry as one domino falls after another. As is typical to the Coen Bros’ films Fargo’s plot is difficult to summarise and, as is equally typical, it involves a variety of original and authentic characters who all cross paths either directly or indirectly. Francis McDormand and William H. Macy have never been better as the wily and heavily pregnant police chief and amateur criminal respectively while Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare play a great and menacing double act as the guys Macy hires to kidnap his wife. The Coen’s have always been masters at demonstrating the importance of the unspoken moment but in Fargo they take it to a new level as each scene is given the time and space to breathe so that the audience is in turn given a deeper understanding of the various characters’ motivations. The exteriors of endless white (beautifully captured by Roger Deacons’ cinematography) only serve to enhance this feeling of space and time as the Coens create the most contemplative of backgrounds against which the mindlessness of the crimes and richness of life’s smaller pleasures can be examined. Absolutely beautiful.
Rating: The Good – 68.6 Genre: Comedy, Drama Duration: 86 mins Director: Anthony & Joe Russo Stars: Sam Rockwell, George Clooney, William H. Macy
Original, quirky, and very witty caper movie about a group of hapless criminals who attempt to pull off a complicated robbery. Welcome to Collinwood was badly received on its release as throngs of George Clooney fans were left disappointed that his part amounted to nothing more than a cameo. That really shouldn’t disappoint anyone though, as the ensemble cast is excellent throughout. The characters are well developed and the film is littered with lovely turns of phrase. Sam Rockwell is the standout performer as the failed boxer who falls for the girl they’re trying to scam but he is well supported by the likes of William H. Macy and the always enjoyable Luis Guzman. There are some genuinely hilarious moments and some great set pieces to keep you entertained for the full 90 mins. If you’re in the mood for something different you could do a lot worse than Welcome to Collinwood.