Richard E Grant digs the skeletons out of his family closet for his directorial debut, a passable and well-performed story of a teenager coming to terms with an alcoholic father and his parents’ tumultous marriage during the final days of British rule in late 1960s Swaziland. As a director, Grant shows less interest in cinema than in honest, personal storytelling. His aesthetic is unambitious and peppered with the odd awkward stylistic flourish: a Super-8 insert to illustrate his family’s earlier, happier days, an embarrassing sequence in which his alter-ego, Ralph Compton (Nicholas Hoult), cartwheels in slo-mo across a lawn to evoke happiness (as you do). That said, the unfussy, accessible approach suits an old-fashioned yarn that flips between claustrophobic interior scenes and some mildly biting ensemble portrayals of snobbish colonial life. It’s all a bit Ayckbourn-meets-‘Eastenders’ on the veld, but Gabriel Byrne gives a great performance as Ralph’s troubled father, Harry, and Miranda Richardson and Emily Watson are enjoyable as Harry’s wife and American lover.
|Release date:||Tuesday May 2 2006|
Cast and crew
|Director:||Richard E Grant|
|Screenwriter:||Richard E Grant|