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LAWLESS HEART, THE

SYNOPSIS:
The wake of Nick's (Tom Hollander) life and business partner Stuart (David Coffey), brings together Stuart's brother in law, Dan (Bill Nighy), and cousin Tim (Douglas Henshall), who arrives after eight years in Europe. Also at the wake is French florist Corinne (Clementine Celarie), whose open warmth is confusing for the introverted Dan. Nick finds his sexuality in turmoil with Charlie (Sukie Smith) and Tim is smitten with Leah (Josephine Butler), who is still in love with her ex, David (Stuart Laing). Nick, Dan and Tim each find the Stuart's wake the starting point of a something new in their lives.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Excellent performances from a seasoned cast of character actors make most of The Lawless Heart an engaging affair - pardon the pun. Bill Nighy's dramatic credentials are on show here, his gossamer-like creation of character a joy to watch. Tom Hollander also gets to handle a more substantial character than usual, and he delivers a melancholy and likeable figure. Douglass Henshall is their equal as Tim, the most extrovert of the three, and the most likely to get hurt.

Superb support work from Ellie Haddington as Dan's wife Judy, demonstrates the depth and strength of English character acting. Her ability to convey all three emotions she's feeling at once is remarkable. Sukie Smith as Charlie is riveting, and even the smallest roles, like Tim's father (Peter Symonds) are filled to perfection.

The ambitious screenplay begins with bravado and style as the scene is set. We are drawn to the characters and we sense their relationships almost intuitively. Clever, observational writing shapes the work and sets up expectations the film ultimately can't quite deliver as effectively as we'd like. There's so much emotion flowing like the tide - and the imagery of a tide coming and going is inserted twice in fast-forward fashion - that we expect a significant emotional payoff. But the film peters out somewhat, its energy seeping away even as we watch.

All the same, there is much insight and truth paraded for us about humanity, and it's a well crafted work with a haunting, tone (probably E minor), which I always like.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

LAWLESS HEART, THE (MA)
(UK/France)

CAST: Tom Hollander, Bill Nighy, Douglas Henshall, Clementine Celarie, Stuart Laing, Josephine Butler, Ellie Haddington, David Coffey

PRODUCER: Martin Pope

DIRECTOR: Tom Hunsinger, Neil Hunter

SCRIPT: Tom Hunsinger, Neil Hunter

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Sean Bobbitt

EDITOR: Scott Thomas

MUSIC: Adrian Johnston

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Lynne Whiteread

RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Hoyts

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 17, 2005







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