Saturday, April 28, 2007

Shropshire Blue

Straightheads, Telford Odeon, Saturday April 28 2007, 4.30pm.

So the truth is finally out there: The X Files' Gillian Anderson has nipples you can hang your overcoat upon. Little else stands out in Dan Reed's debut feature Straightheads, however, leaving you with the impression of watching a Cronenberg with all the cleverness, subtlety and characterisation surgically removed.

Filmed in Bridgnorth, Shropshire (close to the Parallax View homestead), Anderson stars as a posh businesswoman who improbably takes her bit-of-rough CCTV installer (Danny Dyer, laughably playing 23) to a country-house party. Afterwards they indulge in some al fresco rumpy-pumpy before driving home, their enjoyable evening rudely interrupted by a collision with a deer followed by a vicious beating and gruesome rape at the hands and loins of some uniquely banal goons. The next morning the deer gets up and walks away, Dyer's lost an eye and his sex-drive while Anderson is left shaken but stirred into vengeance.

We suppose the warning signs were there with the lack of pre-publicity for this film and the unusually short (80m) running time, hinting at as much panic and confusion behind the scenes as there is up on screen. To be fair, up until the halfway mark you feel there is a decent chance the movie will morph into something gripping and surreal but the plot reveals itself as something of a bulimic breakfast, wanting its cake (Gillian buttfucks a baddie with a shotgun) and to take everything back (there's a half-hearted anti-violence message tacked on at the end). Clearly wanting to be a controversial psychological thriller in the mould of Straw Dogs; Irreversible and Switchblade Romance, the lack of an original idea in its' head just leaves it seeming merely strange - not so much a horror movie as simply unpleasant.



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