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The Big White Review

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Down on his luck travel agent Paul Barnell (Williams) has no sooner unsuccessfully tried to cash in the insurance policy on his brother - missing for five years - than he encounters a frozen corpse. If he can pass the corspe off as his sibling, his financial woes will be solved. But two hitmen, who created the corpse in the first place, want it back...

★★★★★

Snowy landscapes. Incompetent hitmen. A kidnapping and insurance scam gone wrong. From the outset it’s clear we’re in Fargo territory here. The problem is, director Mark Mylod (Ali G In Da House) can’t match up to the Coens.

He does have a good eye, but his penchant for broad comedy keeps throwing the tone off-balance. Although the movie features hitmen and a corpse — discovered by Robin Williams’ hapless travel agent, thus setting the plot in motion — it’s actually quite gentle (said hitmen, played by Tim Blake Nelson and W. Earl Brown, wouldn’t hurt a fly). The impressive cast work manfully with their quirky ciphers, but it’s Williams, as a decent yet desperate man trying to hold things together, who makes the biggest impact. The script, though, just isn’t strong enough to make us either laugh or cry, while the climax, in which all the major characters meet for a showdown, is a wasted opportunity.

Utterly implausible and clunkily directed. Rent Fargo instead.

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