44 Inch Chest

Year: 2010
Production Co: Prescience Media
Director: Malcolm Venville
Writer: Louis Mellis
Cast: Ray Winstone, Tom Wilkinson, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Stephen DIllane, Joanna Whalley

The characters are blokes you'd find in a Guy Ritchie comedy, the story anything but. Colin (Winstone) and his gang (Wilkinson, McShane, Hurt and Dillane) are a bunch of very hard East End crims. One night Colin's sexy wife (Whalley) ups and leaves him, and Archie (Wilkinson) finds him on the floor of his house, the wreckage from his temper smashed all over the place and Can't Live If Living Is Without You playing over and over again on the stereo.

In another scene, we see the whole gang rush into a restaurant and bundle someone out to throw in the back of their van, although at that point we don't know what it's all about. It turns out they've kidnapped the handsome waiter Colin's wife is leaving him for. They bundle him into the grotty safe house they presumably use after jobs and lock him in a cupboard for 24 hours, summoning Colin and egging him on to vent his wrath on the young man, aware that rage and violence is the only expression any of them know.

Revealing whether Colin kills or just torments the man wouldn't only spoil the story, it's just not what the story's about. In fact it's hard to pinpoint what's being said, because the film is less about story than it is about script and performance.

It's an actor's piece, more like a play than a movie, where each member of the cast is given a scene or two to spread their wings and deliver some very stylised monologues. As such the film won't be for everyone - especially because of the language. The acting is good even if the plot leaves you a bit perplexed. Approach it as such and you'll appreciate it more.

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