Tuesday 29 April 2014


A film that'll linger in my memory - just like the smell of one of my window-visitor Tortie's stinky-poos deposited in the litter tray after I've scooped it up and flushed it away.

This film was actually released here a few weeks ago but I'd forgotten about the risibly absurd premise that the story is based on. If I'd recalled what had been said I'd probably have thought twice, but I caught it today on a screening obviously intended to mop up mugs like me who hadn't  seen it up to now. And - oh dear!

Kate Winslet, divorced mother of a 12(?)-year-old son, on a routine shopping trip is approached by escaped convict Josh Brolin in a store. (Cue a bit of 'regulation' shop-lifting!) He, bleeding a bit and with leg injured by his escape jump out of a window, implies threat to her accompanying son if she doesn't drive him away (to her house!) in order to rest his leg "just for a few hours". To be fair, she puts on all the concern, apprehension and fear which the script calls for, especially when he discloses that he's on the run from a sentence for murder. All this happens in the first ten minutes.
Well, I was going to say "to cut a long story short" but you don't really have to wait that long before he's moved in, helping around the house, mending the car, giving the son baseball tips - even ironing, for goodness sake! But all that's as nothing compared with his showing both mother and son how to make........a peach pie! So is that the apex of his talents? Not by a long chalk! Before you can say "Bossa Nova!", gammy leg notwithstanding ('scuse the pun), he's teaching her how to dance! You'll have gathered that by now the scales have long since fallen from her eyes and she sees him for the fine and caring specimen of manhood that he is. One assumes that by now or very soon they are bonking with gay abandon. (True love sure works in mysterious ways!) Thankfully we are spared the sight of any such bed scene, which would surely have been accompanied by sultry, sexy, saxophone sounds, though I'd bet such a scene finished up on the cutting room floor - where nearly all the rest of this shameless farrago deserved to be. While they're watching TV there's a flash warning about her 'guest', telling all to be alert to this convict who's escaped from an 18-year murder sentence. But is she deterred while she lovingly rests her head on his shoulder. Not a bit of it! (What's the odd murder between friends?) How about another dance?
Of course his presence in the house has to be kept scrupulously under wraps, with police on the streets and his mug-shot nailed to trees - while all the while the son is, understandably, far from happy at the developing relationship.

I must, however, give due positive regard to a few minutes towards the end of the film where director Ivan Reitman (the good 'Juno' + 'Thank You For Smoking' among his worthier credits) really cranks up the suspense most effectively. Unfortunately, this is soon dissipated in an extended epilogue over several scenes, long outstaying its welcome. I wanted to scream "Yes, we get it. Now let it GO!!!"

It would have been nice to say that one could just forget the ludicrous notion that the Winslet character would so easily fall for a sinister, convicted murderer to the extent of 'shielding' him from due justice, and just get on with enjoying the rest of the film. But there's no getting away from it. Their situation looms large in every single scene so you're not allowed to forget it.

Nothing else to say, really. Don't know why I'm giving it this score - let's just say it's for those suspenseful few minutes near the close ....................................2/10



  1. Another reason I haven't seen Divergent is because Kate Winslet is Villian. I saw it more as a Jodie Foster type person in it. Someone who could be really gritty.

    As for this I wont see this either due to Kate Winslet being in it. the only film I have seen her in and liked is The Holidays

    1. If you were ever to have the misfortune to see this, Sol, it might be worth it to examine how the two main stars kept a straight face with such implausibility of plot.
      There have actually been a number of Winslet films I have liked. Did you not see the one which first brought her to fame, 'Heavenly Creatures' of 1994? Really good. The most recent film of hers I also liked an awful lot was 'Carnage', though there are divided opinions about it. And there are others.... (I never saw the holiday one though I do know about it).

  2. This was officially released on DVD today, so you have done a good deed in warning us about it. I do have to say that your remarks were humorous, entertaining and right to the point. Really enjoyed your take.

    I've seen so many previews of this and immediately recognized it as another Nicholas Sparks story - although he didn't author this - but he has many clones now. Same outline: Someone with a troubled past, running away from something, finds healing, redemptive love, e.g. "The Notebook," The Lucky Guy," etc.. We've seen it all before.

    IWinslet is an excellent actress, but sometimes doesn't choose her roles very well. "Labor Day" and I hate to say it, "The Holidays" are two bad choices - but that is just my opinion. I completely agree with you on "Carnage' and one of my favorites, "Mildred Pierce" which she made us forget the camp of the Joan Crawford version and gave us a gritty story.

    1. It may be worth getting the DVD just for a laugh, Paul, though I'm not such a masochist as to want to endure it again, even with the glass or three of wine which would be sorely needed.
      I was wondering during the film whether the book could have been as bad. It surely must have contained the basic absurdity, though maybe on the printed page it can be conveyed more subtly to make it look less outlandish, though I can't imagine how. The idea sounds very Mills & Boon - for readers who don't have high demands.

      Yes, I agree that K,W.'s choices have been variable. I too had heard not very flattering things about 'The Holidays'. I wasn't as impressed by 'The Reader' as some had been - I gave it a 5 on IMDb. I never saw 'Mildred Pierce' (not being a great TV watcher). But looking down her filmography I'd pick out as her better ones, 'Revolutionary Road', 'Quills' and, one which no one mentions, 'Hamlet'. And there was one on TV which I did see - her turn in Ricky Gervais' 'Extras' where her episode was one of the very funniest progs I've seen in the last few decades.

      I'm of two minds whether to go for yet another film today, but it could be one more clunker and I'm wary of throwing around money which I don't have. But after yesterday it might serve to dilute the unpleasant experience. We'll have to see how I feel in a few hours.