EMPIRE loves Le Donk, Shane Meadows' latest
Posted on Sunday June 21, 2009, 18:53 by Nev Pierce in Empire States
One of the most anticipated films of this year’s festival is Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee, the third feature-length collaboration between Shane Meadows and Paddy Considine. It does not disappoint.
Pre-screening hubbub focussed on the fact the improvised docu-style feature was shot in a mere five days… which left me worried, frankly – as if the low-budget, micro-schedule might be used to excuse a dip from the pair’s usual quality (Dead Man’s Shoes, A Room For Romeo Brass). The concerns were ill-founded; this is an actor and director at ease but not at rest: Le Donk is very funny and oddly touching and features a brilliant performance from Considine.
He’s an actor perhaps best known for the sense of edge he can give characters – an unpredictable, feral presence – but Le Donk, a roadie and wannabe music manager, is a lighter creation, daft instead of dangerous and vulnerable beneath his bloke-ish bluster.
He’s got a big weekend coming up – the birth of his first child, plus a chance to break unlikely-looking rapper Scor-zay-zee (unlikely, but real – and talented) as support for the Artic Monkeys… So he allows Meadows to follow him, albeit with remarkable ill-grace; rowing with the filmmaker and associates (“Candypants!” is an insult that will live in history) and inadvertently revealing his true nature.
To say much more about the dialogue or incidents would spoil the movie and the official EMPIRE review will go into more (spoiler-free) detail in due course. Just know that it’s very, very funny and you should check it out in October.
Other films, in brief… The Maiden Heist pertains to be a comedy and stars Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman and William H Macy as gallery security guards who decide to steal their favourite works before they’re moved to Denmark… Life is too short to write much about it: the quality of the cast ensures it’s not entirely unwatchable, but the script almost makes it so.
Much more entertaining is b-boy documentary Turn It Loose. Now, I didn’t know what a b-boy was before entering the screening, so hardly have my finger on the yoof-culture pulse, but watching the world championship of break-dancing – intercut with the back-stories of some of those competing – proved surprisingly involving. There were elements I would have liked to see explored – the murky judging process, for one – but I liked how careful editing ensured your allegiances shifted throughout the competition, as more was revealed about each real-life b-boy.
Finally, a short from sibling writing & directing team Blake and Dylan Ritson. Love Hate stars Perfume’s Ben Whishaw as a charity worker – well, a charity-mugger, as direct debit-seeking street charity workers have sometimes been dubbed – whose sweet-nature allows people to trample all over him. Then a mysterious woman (Hayley Atwell) appears and he discovers his dark side… Crisply shot and superbly acted, it’s also a sly comment on repression and everyday insanity. It will be great to see what the Ritsons do next.