Bob Hoskins’ dedication to British independent cinema is reaffirmed with his committed performance in ‘Gypo’ director Jan Dunn’s second major feature, ‘Ruby Blue’. Hoskins plays Jack, a widowed pigeon fancier whose burgeoning friendship with a pair of local children leads to suspicion among the neighbours.
The first act is promising, lingering over the doleful details of Jack’s bitter isolation. But the film comes unstuck too quickly, descending into amateurish contrivance and hackneyed melodrama.
‘Ruby Blue’ feels like it’s inspired more by television than cinema: the photography is bland, the characterisation is formulaic, and the narrative is risibly soap operatic.
It tries to explore ‘issues’, such as teen alcoholism and suburban paranoia, but does so in a hopelessly hamfisted and patronising fashion, undercutting the sterling efforts of the central cast, most notably Hoskins and Josiane Balasko as his frumpy neighbour, whose Frenchness is signalled by an accordion blast every time she appears onscreen: an accurate measure of the film’s artless sensibility.
|Release date:||Friday April 25 2008|
Cast and crew