- Director: Ben Wheatley
- Writer: Ben Wheatley
- Producer: Andrew Starke
Every now and then, a director needs to unleash a pet project upon the general public...more often than not, they needn't have bothered. Ben Wheatley's [uncharacteristic] latest falls - jarringly - into that category. Think: Mike Leigh...without Mike Leigh's dexterity!
It's akin to watching a second-rate day-time soap [admittedly with better actors] about a thoroughly unpleasant and constantly bickering family. There is an uncomfortable feeling that floats around..are we [the audience] meant to laugh at this familial dysfunction? Because, none of it is actually funny!
This is a [mostly] improvised, ensemble piece - with all the weaknesses that [improvised] ensemble pieces [usually] have - the more interesting characters get a lost...Charles Dance's Uncle Bertie [every family has one!] and Richard Glover's [fallen from grace] Lord - sadly - fall victim. Doon Mackichan should have been exploited more...she, as the matriarch, is deliciously vile. All the other characters veer towards the incidental and/or are annoying, Asim Chaudhry does exactly the same play-it-for-cheap-laughs act as he did in Eaten by Lions - oops!
Filmed with hand-held cameras...with - quite often - a dizzying effect. It looks cheap...and, since Mr Wheatley has an envious and laudable reputation for producing slickety-slick films...you may feel rather cheated.
Mr Wheatley, glad you got this off your chest...now, stick to what you do best!
Colin has rented a stately country home for his extended family*s New Year celebrations. He*s the centre of attention until his estranged brother David unexpectedly arrives, throwing the family dynamic far off orbit.