Apart from its undoubted curiosity value I find next to nothing to commend this oddity. Conceived by the film's sole actor, Timothy Spall himself, it's a colossal misfire of what is usually termed a 'vanity project'.
Spall has been one of this country's most distinguished and easily recognisable character actors for more than 30 years on both TV and cinema screen, and he always delivers value. But that is precisely what he is and does best - being a character actor. In this film he attempts (foolhardily, I would say) to do impressions of British entertainers of the early to middle decades of the last century and, frankly, they aren't much good - in fact I was asking myself whether I'd missed the point of it all! To try to make sense of it I wonder if he was not so much attempting impressions, as using these figures to channel aspects of his own personality. Well. it's all I can come up with for the moment.
I could make neither head not tail of the story - starting in a mental institution where Spall seems to be the only inmate, occasionally doing janitorial duties, while spending the evenings locked in his 'cell' trying to watch old programmes on a b/w T.V. which needs to be coin-fed to keep it on but which keeps running out. We learn that he's keen to get permission to visit his daughter's grave on the first anniversary of her death (caused by what?), but he's denied leave. Then he sees a series of hallucinations of past entertainers, all played by himself, most of whom I recognised but, to be honest, were it not for the habitual garments we knew them by I'd have taken rather longer to identify them. Spall has a body, face and voice not easily given to impersonations. so what possessed him to try it I don't know. Those personalities which I had no trouble recognising included Max Wall (as in above pic), Tony Hancock, Noel Coward, George Formby, Max Miller - and, more problematically, Peter Sellers, Alistair Sim, Margaret Rutherford (just a wig and dress, no make-up, and with his voice in same register) plus a couple more - and his own mother and father. As to what messages they were trying to convey to him got me lost. They were clearly intended to be amusing, but all was wasted on this watcher.
I didn't get the film's latter sections either, when he's out of the institution, back in his single flat and making arrangements for his possessions and furniture to be cleared.
As well as the film's idea being Spall's he shares writing credit with its director, Stephen Cookson. But both of them, if they had a coherent vision of what this film is about it missed me by a mile.
I like Tim Spall, but it seems to me that this vehicle quickly over-reaches itself, making its slim length of little over 80 minutes seem appreciably longer than it was.
Current average IMDb rating is an astonishing 7.9 though only from 13 scores - and 6 of these have given it a bewildering 10/10 which leaves me totally flummoxed. It's especially suspicious, though, as all the remaining ratings are 5 or below, mine being the lowest of all. (On 'Rotten Tomatoes' the three submissions to date give an average of 5/10).
My own minimal score is entirely for Spall's brave but misplaced effort, and nothing else..............2.
1 hour ago