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'44 Inch Chest'
(Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Tom Wilkinson, Stephen Dillane, et al / DVD / R / (2009) 2010 / Image)

Overview: How far would you go to avenge betrayal? Colin Diamond (Ray Winstonet) is about to find out in this gritty, provocative thriller. After he breaks down over the dissolution of his marriage, he kidnaps his wife's lover, and his rage pushes him to the brink of murder as his motley crew of buddies urges him to exact brutal revenge.

DVD: Firing off enough expletives in confined spaces to make Pinter and Mamet sound like Jeeves and Wooster (trust me, if you shun away from the c**t word, DO NOT RENT/BUY THIS MOVIE!), Malcolm Venville's '44 Inch Chest' is a brutish swearathon about five men in a room. Six, if you count the one tied up and stuffed into a wardrobe!

Ray Winstone has the main role as Colin Diamond, an over-the-hill London gangster who finds out his wife (Joanne Whalley) intends to leave him for a young French waiter. Half-catatonic with impotent rage, he enlists his chums to bundle the offending cuckolder into the back of a van, and thence to a grimy East End hellhole where they taunt, threaten, and beat him into a bloody pulp.

Those of a nervous disposition will be watching with fingers over their eyes. Oddly, though, suspense isn't the point here. It's a static chamber piece about the male psyche in freefall there's a deliberate but still unsatisfying refusal to spur the situation along dramatically. We're left with a lot of filthy, juddering banter, and thankfully some very good performances.

John Hurt's Old Man Peanut is an unforgettably vile creation a crabby gremlin barely able to keep his dentures in. Ian McShane, whose sulphurous charm is an asset in almost everything these days, has some great arias as a devilish gay narcissist called Meredith. Hard as Winstone visibly tries, he can't stop them stealing the movie, a plum actors' piece which both gains and loses points by soberly stalling its own plot. A thoughtful anticlimax is ... well, still an anticlimax. [PR] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Commentary with Director Malcom Venville
Behind The Scenes
Interview with Malcom Venville