19 May 2014


Meantime 1984
  • Director: Mike Leigh
  • Based on the novel: No
  • Cast: Phil Daniels, Tim Roth, Gary Oldman, Marion Bailey, Pam Ferris, Alfred Molina, Jeffrey Robert, Tilly Vosburgh
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Phil Daniels  Sex Chips & Rock’n’Roll, Quadrophenia
    • Tim Roth – Dark Water, The Beautiful Country, To Kill a King, Planet of the Apes, Gridlock’d, Pulp Fiction, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Reservoir Dogs, Rob Roy
    • Gary Oldman – Harry Potter, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Prick Up Your Ears, Sid and Nancy, Friends, Léon, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Bok of Eli, The Dark Knight, The Scarlet Letter, Immortal Beloved, Romeo Is Bleeding, True Romance, Dracula, JFK, Nil by Mouth (director)
    • Marion Bradley – Case Histories, Toast, Vera Drake
    • Pam Ferris – Harry Potter (Aunt Marge), Children of Men, Our Mutual Friend, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Middlemarch
    • Alfred Molina - An Education, Chocolat, As You Like It, Frida, Prick Up Your Ears
    • Tilly Vosburgh  Boy A, Atonement, Vera Drake
  • Why? Gary Oldman, Tim Roth, Mike Leigh
  • Seen:  May 17, 2014
It’s not often we see a film having no idea whatsoever what it’s about but on the merits of the three gentlemen listed above I’ll watch anything.  And I’m looking forward to this.
It’s grim, though. As Mike Leigh usually is. At first it’s fun to see the almost unrecognizable Oldman and Roth – Oldman as a twitchy borderline psychopath racist skinhead and Roth as a poor innocent gormless picked on adenoidal bespectacled prat just faintly prescient of their Rosencrantz and Guildenstern roles.
But it soon turns very sad.  Unemployment, meaninglessness, endless familial nastiness. Even Auntie Barbara (Bradley), in spite of her cheerful “fuck’em” attitude and relentless get-up-and-go-ness ends up huddled in a corner crying over an empty bottle of booze.
Only older brother Mark (Daniels) seems to observe everyone else’s pain and though he scoffs and insults with the others, he stands up for his brother in the end.  And then says he’s going to leave.  But will he?
England in the early ‘80’s, not a happy picture. But an outstanding film. With just enough dark humour to keep the despair at bay.  Televised llama races in Egypt?

4 ½ * of 5

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