Film Review: Faintheart

21 Jan

Thursday 26 June 2008 is a day etched in my memory, for all the wrong reasons: it was the day I watched Faintheart. I’m still recovering, but the initial pain has worn off to leave more of a dull ache when I remember the time spent at the Cineworld that fateful day.

I wrote at the time that Faintheart was “a film that goes nowhere. With no ambition or attempts to do anything interesting, it was a depressing 90 minutes that I’ll never get back.” Do I still stick with those thoughts?

Absolutely.

The film revolves around Richard (the usually dependable Eddie Marsan), a devoted husband and father who in his spare time re-enacts Viking battles with his mates.

Missing his father-in-law’s funeral due to a Viking meet, Richard’s wife Cath (Jessica Hynes) decides she’s had enough and that Richard needs to grow up, promptly chucking him out of the house.

Richard must now try to decide whether he wants to be with his wife and son or his friends, and sadly we the viewers have to watch to see what he decides.

The background to this film revolves around some sort of atrocious MySpace campaign to make the world’s first “user generated” film, an experiment that I really hope is never repeated after the mess this thing has been turned into.

A fine cast has been assembled, presumably on Equity minimum pay, to act out a strained script that has no life, fun, inspiration or, ironically, heart to it.

Marsan is clearly a cut-price Simon Pegg, the presence of Hynes a nod to the boys-only style of film done so brilliantly in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.

The only character who has any real progression is Ewan Bremner’s, his performance the only bearable one in the film. Sadly even this is shot down by a badly misjudged paedophilia gag that left the audience I saw this with unable to decide whether they should be laughing or not.

To be fair, many of the crowd in the cinema with me seemed to find the film funnier than I did, making me wonder if I just wasn’t the right target audience, but I can’t quite work out who that audience is.

The cast isn’t “trendy” enough to appeal to the Skins generation (Tim Healy is one of the main cast and he hasn’t been cool since Auf Wiedersehen, Pet in 1983!) while the marriage plot suggests it’s aimed at an older demographic.

Unless you were one of the lucky people who contributed some story ideas for the film via MySpace (if so, please stick to the day job), I recommend you avoid this travesty like you would a Viking broadsword coming at you with great force and go buy Shaun of the Dead on DVD instead. You’ll thank me for it in the long run.

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