Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A Bunch of Amateurs

2008 - Dir: Andy Cardiff - 1 hour 27 minutes
Shown at The FeckenOdeon on 28th January, 2012
This is very much a stereotypical quaint British film, but this is no bad thing and any lack of originality is made up for by the thespian talent on show. Derek Jacobi and Imelda Staunton carry the flag, supported by Samantha Bond (best known as the latest Miss Moneypenny) and despite the storyline sometimes becoming flimsy, the acting quality carries the film through any rough patches. Burt Reynolds does a great self parodying turn and the dialogue is enlivened by the pen of Private Eye’s Ian Hislop.
It’s probably a style of film making that only the British can enjoy - and then only certain sections of British society. Like many of the classics of old it gently makes fun of our way of life and our eccentricities. Our country and our activities are portrayed in a less than flattering but endearing way. Somehow this pushes all the right buttons and we laugh at ourselves. This approach doesn’t appeal to the more demanding metropolitan Brit - hence the downright snotty reviews the film received in the posher papers and glossies. Because it doesn’t contain explosions, car chases, amputations or aliens it didn’t get a full commercial release but it has done very well in community cinemas and film societies. It’s probably time for someone to make a quaint British Film about film societies.....
  • The film was chosen to be shown at the annual Royal Film Performance. The Queen and Prince Philip were so impressed that they requested a copy for all of the Royal family to watch at Sandringham over Christmas.
  • The setting of the little village of Stratford St. John, which is mistakenly confused as Stratford-Upon-Avon, was not even filmed in England but at two farm villages in the Isle of Man.
  • Burt Reynolds last filmed in the UK for “Rough Cut” - 28 years before this film was made.
  • Charles Durning, who plays the agent, was 85 at the time of filming. He and Burt Reynolds are great friends and have made 8 feature films and numerous TV shows together. Burt Reynolds is 76