Film reviews

Welcome To Collinwood - Dir: Anthony & Joe Russo - Cert: 15

'Welcome to Collinwood' is a comedy crime-caper with a great ensemble cast, and uses structure and style to pay homage to many of the early black and white pieces such as the Keystone Kops, Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd. From the black & white title card at the start of the film to the poster of the film, a specific genre is evoked and despite this yester-year nod the movie manages to not feel dated by its chosen form of comedy.

Collinwood is also from the production company that is set up by Steven Soderburgh and George Clooney. Clooney himself appears in the film as a wheelchair bound safe breaker.

A small group of inept criminals including William H. Macy, Sam Rockwell and Isaiah Washington have a simple job that would pay out $300,000 and lift each of them from their squalid failed - criminal existences, but such is their incompetence that they manage to jeopardise this without even the severe threat of a hostile force.

The gags are amusing and farcical and manage to appear funny without being contrived. There are a few short-comings of the film though, most notably its brief length (86 mins), lack of resolution for the characters and perhaps not enough detail and time given to all the characters. Even though they are inept criminals, hence their position, you feel that there needs to be some change and / or development in their characters otherwise the film just becomes a snapshot of a static group of lives. The Jennifer Esposito character, Carmela, seems to insinuate more than what is evident but a climatic scene with her never materialises, similarly Basil (Andrew Davoli) disappears towards the end of the ‘job’ and suffers a similar lack of resolution.

Perhaps the brevity of the film is due, in part to the financial restraints of the meagre $12m budget invested in the project. This might seem a lot but the average Hollywood film now costs around $60m. I hope that 'Welcome to Collinwood' makes its money back because Hollywood becomes more formulaic and blander each year and this set of film-makers, both Directors and Production company should be given a broader canvas to work on.

My criticisms should not be seen as too severe a complaint though as the film is very entertaining and well-made with care, flair and a sense of cinematic history. Given its short length 'Welcome to Collinwood' does evoke the desire of a repeat viewing. 7/10

Harry Lime

Odeon Online


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