44 Inch Chest ~ (UK, 2009) ~ DVD

This wordy crime drama is from the Sexy Beast writing team, and features the word “fuck” – 162 times, according to IMDB. I suspect this may have been topped by the word “cunt”, but I didn’t count ’em. Oh, there are some actors as well, and a damn fine crew it is. First is the incomparable Ray Winstone as the “cuckolded” Colin Diamond. Colin is tough and tender, raging and lovestruck. And one can never get one’s fill of Ian McShane, who plays the appropriately named Meredith, a dapper and soulless thug who proudly swings the other way. John Hurt plays a memorable old coot named Old Man Peanut who has his own idea of honor and revenge. Tom Wilkinson as Archie, is Colin’s best friend in the group.

Colin’s 12-year old marriage has been broken up by a man that his wife (Joanne Whalley) has met and started an affair with. When she tells Colin that she doesn’t love him anymore, all hell breaks loose. What happens next is told in a linear style, mixed with flashbacks and hallucinatory dreams. The other gang members try and convince Colin that it is his duty to uphold the code, and off the bastard (whom they have kidnapped).

The film, at a modest 95 minutes seems longer than that, because the movie drags at the beginning and in some other spots. It feels like a gangster version of the film of Eugene O’Neil’s The Iceman Cometh, but it has one scene that I loved: The group has left Colin alone with the kidnapped lover, and are telling stories out in the hall. Reminiscing, really. Old Man Peanut (he really does look like a shrivelled peanut shell) relates the parable of Samson And Delilah, and its parallels to the present situation. His tale is aided by scenes from the 1949 Cecil B. DeMille kitsch classic : Victor Mature, Hedy Lamar, et al.

In the end, the group doesn’t really get what they’ve paid their entrance fee for, but Colin seems to.


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