Incendiary

Film

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Oct 21 2008

There are so many things wrong with writer-director Sharon Maguire’s first film since ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’ in 2001 that it’s hard to know where to start, but the fatal problem is that this is a film with an identity crisis. Storywise, Maguire’s adaptation of a novel by Chris Cleave tells of a nervy young British mother on a London council estate (played by American Michelle Williams, no joke) who’s enjoying a dose of extra-marital how’s-your-father with her neighbour, a rich (!) Daily Express journalist (Ewan McGregor, weak) when her husband, a bomb disposal expert and her five-year-old son are killed during a terrorist attack on a London football stadium.

A study of guilt and grief, then, against the backdrop of modern London? Partly – only Maguire’s script wanders down all sorts of narrative dead-ends. It flirts with being a conspiracy thriller when the woman begins a relationship with the boss of her dead husband, a high-ranking police officer (Matthew MacFadyen), but bottles it to explore revenge and forgiveness instead when the woman ridiculously chances upon the son of the bomber. Lest Maguire miss the chance to reflect every hot-button event and issue going, she then tastelessly borrows from the De Menezes tragedy for another needless red herring.

The whole enterprise is show, show, show (witness the digitally rendered World War II-style barrage balloons floating above the Thames in honour of terror victims or the scene of carnage at the stadium), when what’s needed is much more subtlety and focus. It ends up being a compendium of bizarre diversions, most of which are utterly surplus to the film’s half-cocked desire to stick with the experience and emotions of its main character.
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Release details

UK release:

Fri Oct 24, 2008

Duration:

99 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Sharon Maguire

Screenwriter:

Sharon Maguire

Cast:

Michelle Williams, Ewan McGregor, Matthew Macfadyen

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.3 / 5

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LiveReviews|4
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Tom

I'm with Dave. Good actors wasted on a bland script that can't decide if it is a drama, thriller, or a romance (and a sappy one at that).

Lauren

Excellent film! A realistic and compelling drama that is well-acted and left me reflecting on it for days. It's pretty obvious that this "Critic" -Dave Calhoun is venting a personal vendetta against the director of the film, Sharon Maguire, and not giving an honest review. What a shame that anyone would print his baseless drivel.

Lauren

Excellent film! A realistic and compelling drama that is well-acted and left me reflecting on it for days. It's pretty obvious that this "Critic" -Dave Calhoun is venting a personal vendetta against the director of the film, Sharon Maguire, and not giving an honest review. What a shame that anyone would print his baseless drivel.

SoundAvarice

Mr. Calhoun has decided here that he doesn't like the film, exaggerating and misrepresenting in order to make his point - it's like bad science. 1. Criticism is made of the casting of an American in the role of an East Londoner. Perhaps Ms. Williams didn't nail the accent in every moment, but her effort is admirable none-the-less (coming from an ex-Londoner). Perhaps Mr. Calhoun doesn't like Americans, as is the fashion these days. No one forces you to drink Coca-cola, Mr. Calhoun. 2. The main character flings with her husband's boss AFTER pursuing the terrorist's son, so there's no bottling to be done. In fact, one of the most explosive scenes involves those characters (near the end, I might add). The so-called "conspiracy" sub-plot merely provides character fodder - one looks for nothing more, and nothing more is promised. 3. Revenge and forgiveness (alongside grief and guilt) are key points in the film - that hardly represents a dead-end. 4. As the previous reviewer states, the character's pursuit of the terrorist's son has nothing to do with chance, nor is it portrayed as such. 5. The alleged De Menezes scene is realistic - a fair expectation given such circumstances. 6. What other choice exists than to digitally render the balloons? They did a good job - you criticize it only to reinforce your position, and because you know they could not be real balloons. In a nut-shell, you are a sorry excuse for a journalist and film critic, Mr. Calhoun. I suggest you do something else. But, please, let it not involve writing.