Lava

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A simpleton whose brother has been brain-damaged in a beating teams up with a fantasist who claims to have served in the SAS to knock off the brute who did the beating. When they get to the guy's flat, they find his girlfriend home alone, so they tie her up and wait. That, in a nutshell is the plot of Lava, written, directed and starring Joe Tucker. It was also the plot of The Last Yellow, Julian Farino's 1999 black comedy, written by Paul Tucker - Joe's brother - based on his stage play. Any resemblance is presumably genetic. Okay, there are differences. Most obviously, Lava is set during the Notting Hill Carnival, making for bags of local colour, Yardie action and a kilo of cocaine. When you get right down to it, though, the drama basically takes place in a flat, and plays out as a mordant farce of mistaken identities, bloody pratfalls and unreliable firearms. Unfortunately, it peddles a leering, lewd and crude misanthropy for cheap frills and laffs. Tucker shuffles deference, bravado and bullets to fitfully amusing effect as the boastful Smiggy. As director, he aims for gross post-Tarantino highs, and misses. One positive point: Simon Fisher-Turner deserves singling out for his innovative and accomplished 'music and noise'.

By: TCh

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