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Five Seconds to Spare

Keyboard player William Small (Beesley) moves to London to make a go of it with his group, the Alaska Factory. Success does not happen overnight. Playing gold lamé boogie woogie in a shopping mall to make ends meet, he encounters Madeleine (Cervi), with whom he falls in love. The Alaska Factory play a pub gig and Madeleine turns up with another man (Pertwee), prompting William to seek solace in the arms of lonely barmaid Karla (Hille). It's only when he witnesses a murderous assault on a fellow musician by two hooded dwarves that William begins to wish he'd stayed in Macclesfield. In its adaptation, Jonathan Coe's story (from his novel The Dwarves of Death) has become darker but retains much of its sparky comedy. The new title seems arbitary: while the Dwarves of Death are a recurrent motif, 'Five Seconds to Spare' comes from a throwaway line that perhaps should have been. First time director Connolly draws fine performances all round, with particular respect due to Winstone for his foul-tempered recording studio boss and Light for a wonderfully twitchy dopehead muso. John Peel's charming cameo is a bonus.

Release details

Duration: 98 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Tom Connolly
Screenwriter: Jonathan Coe, Tom Connolly
Cast: Max Beesley
Ray Winstone
Anastasia Hille
Valentina Cervi
Andy Serkis
Sarah Jane Potts
John Light
Lee Ross
John Peel
Sean Pertwee
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