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DVD Review

DVD cover

St. Vincent


Starring: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts and Jaeden Lieberher
Distributor: Entertainment in Video
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 12
Release Date: 30 March 2015

Maggie, a single mother, moves into a new home in Brooklyn with her 12-year old son, Oliver. Forced to work long hours, she has no choice but to leave Oliver in the care of their new neighbour, Vincent, a retired curmudgeon with a penchant for alcohol and gambling. An odd friendship soon blossoms between the improbable pair. Together with a pregnant stripper named Daka, Vincent brings Oliver along on all the stops that make up his daily routine - the race track, a strip club, and the local dive bar. Vincent helps Oliver grow to become a man, while Oliver begins to see in Vincent something that no one else is able to: a misunderstood man with a good heart...

St. Vincent is a movie with a lot of heart, and a central message that it's all about different perspectives, that people are viewed differently by different people. When we are first introduced to Vincent MacKenna, he appears to be a deadbeat alcoholic gambler with a hygiene problem and a messy house. It looks like he's come to the end of his luck, having run out of money. He can no longer pay his gambling debts, his bar tab or for the visits from his regular prostitute.

When new neighbours move in, Vincent ends up acting as a babysitter for the young boy, Oliver. Everyday, after school, Oliver goes round to Vincent's house. And when Oliver is picked on by the school bully, Vincent takes Oliver under his wing and teaches him how to fight. And, as Oliver gets to know Vincent more, he starts to realise that maybe Vincent wasn't always such a miserable, bitter old man.

The movie rests on the shoulders of both Murray and Jaeden Lieberher (Oliver). If you don't believe in their relationship then the entire film falls apart. The pair have a natural onscreen chemistry that not for one second feels anything other than real.

St. Vincent is an enjoyable, emotional tale which takes an unlikable character and makes you feel for them. The great thing is, although this does get a bit soppy towards the end, as in real life, Vincent never really changes - he's still, pretty much, the same Vincent we were introduced to.

Melissa McCarthy, as Oliver's mum, Maggie, has some great scenes, which appear to be improvised. In particular, her mini breakdown in the principal's office is both amusing and uncomfortable. Likewise her scene in the court is both funny and believable.

I was a little worried at the start of the movie that the editors had no idea what they were doing. There was a montage scene with the final scene clearly breaking the line of action. It's noticeable enough to jar you out of the film momentarily. Luckily, the film settles down and I wasn't aware of any more issues with the editing.

Extras include Deleted Scenes (10 min, 21 sec of additional scenes with Oliver and the bully, Oliver's parents, and a nice scene that sees Vincent pay the bookie one last visit); Bill Murray is St. Vincent: The Patron Saint of Comedy (or "... the Patron of Saint Comedy', as the DVD menu mislabels is). This is a 10 min, 53 sec featurette that includes an interview with Murray and the cast as well as other clips from an event on the same day with Murray and Ivan Reitman talking about Ghostbusters.

St. Vincent is an enjoyable and emotional tale.


Darren Rea

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