On a Clear Day

  • Film
  • Drama
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Aiming squarely at the family-friendly ‘Full Monty’ market, this Scottish-set drama follows the feelgood formula with dogged determination. Not unlike the determination of its hero Frank (Peter Mullan), a redundant shipyard worker who – macho pride dented by job loss and panic attacks – resolves to swim the Channel. A gruff man of few words, the benefits of Frank’s actions become clear when he begins to make tentative amends with his estranged son (Jamie Sives).Empowered by proxy are Frank’s chums, ex-colleague Danny (Billy Boyd) and takeaway restaurant owner Chan (Benedict Wong). By helping Frank train, weedy Danny proves his strength while Chan gains the confidence to stand up to dismissive locals. Their male bonding is light-hearted and broadly humorous (mostly thanks to Boyd), and characters’ psyches are not probed too deeply. Still, Mullan effectively conveys Frank’s troubled character and Brenda Blethyn is equally reliable as his wife Joan, whose own mission is to become a bus driver. That each keeps their plans secret from the other indicates the general themes of failed communication and repressed emotions. It takes a dramatic event to rock the entrenched barriers between wife and husband, father and son, with the latter relationship providing an unexpectedly moving moment at the end. It’s the only surprise in a pleasantly predictable film which ultimately demonstrates rather less ambition than its protagonist.

Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday September 2 2005
Duration: 98 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Gaby Dellal
Screenwriter: Alex Rose
Cast: Peter Mullan
Brenda Blethyn
Jamie Sives
Billy Boyd
Sean McGinley
Ron Cook
Jodhi May
Benedict Wong