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DVD Review

DVD cover

44 Inch Chest


Starring: Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, John Hurt and Tom Wilkinson
Momentum Pictures
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 18
Available 10 May 2010

When Colin Diamond (Ray Winstone) discovers that his wife, Liz (Joanne Whalley) has cheated on him with a waiter (Melvil Poupaud), his friends help him kidnap his love rival in a bid to restore his battered ego. What follows is a night of insight and madness...

44 Inch Chest (2009 - 1 hr, 30 min, 57 sec) is a drama written by Louis Mellis and David Scinto (Sexy Beast), the film was directed by Malcolm Venville.

The movie is both odd and adventurous for a modern film, in that the vast majority of the film happens in a single room with Colin and his friends confronting an almost silent victim. As such the power and success of the piece hangs on the casts performances,

Ray Winstone is not a stranger to hard man roles but this time the twist is that Colin is a thug who feels himself a victim of love. Much of the night's events revolve around Colin trying to decide whether the path of revenge is the one he wants to take or whether he can grow beyond this immediate need to find a greater truth.

To help him on his journey of self discovery he has brought along Old Man Peanut (John Hurt) who is even harder and more vicious than Colin. His hate filled diatribes are peppered with expletives which makes the character both risible and scary at the same time. Meredith (Ian McShane), a single gay man, is the nearest thing to the voice of reason, but even here this is a relative term in a group who are more than happy to kill their intended victim just to make their pal feel better. The group is completed by Archie (Tom Wilkinson) and Mal (Stephen Dillane).

The film works well; the closed confines of the room creating an unpleasant claustrophobia which makes the audience feel as if they are trapped, along with “Loverboy”, with Colin’s vicious friends goading him ever on to acts of violence. But the film is so much more than a revenge flick; the time we spend in Colin’s head is an exploration of one man's identity of his masculine ego. It is at times funny in the blackest sense of the word, but it is also quite an intimidating film to watch.

The disc has a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track with an optional descriptive track. For extras you get the original theatrical trailer (1 min, 40 sec), the Story Behind 44 Inch Chest (14 min, 41 sec) which looks at the genesis of the movie with contributions from cast and crew. Lastly you have Up Close and Personal (5 min, 05 sec) which is an interesting small film with the actors talking to the camera, in character.

So a difficult film to watch at times, but one I can fully recommend, especially if your tastes run to very dark humour.


Charles Packer

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