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Incendiary

  • Film
  • 2 out of 5 stars
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Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars
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.
Written by Dave Calhoun

Release Details

  • Release date:Friday 24 October 2008
  • Duration:99 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Sharon Maguire
  • Screenwriter:Sharon Maguire
  • Cast:
    • Michelle Williams
    • Ewan McGregor
    • Matthew Macfadyen
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