Madagascar Skin Review

Image for Madagascar Skin

Two gay men set up camp in an isolated cottage as one woos the other.


John Hannah notches up his second consecutive screen appearance (after introducing Auden to the great unwashed in Four Weddings) as a man in love with someone older, jolly and bearded.

But whereas in 1994's cinematic juggernaut the gay relationship did little but produce the requisite funeral, here Hannah's search for happiness takes centre stage. Indeed, this micro-budget production (under 500,000) has given the principal pair much more than some snappy dialogue.

The film follows the emotional progress of Harry (Hannah) - who blames a birthmark shaped like the tropical island of the title for his failure to find love - after an incident at the local gay bar sends him skedaddling to a stretch of craggy coastline (providing suitably dramatic scenery) to find himself.

He wakes on the beach next morning as three thugs run across his car roof in an unconscious act of vandalism. Deciding to investigate, he discovers a tattooed specimen named Flint (Hill) left for dead on the next beach. The pair set up camp in a disused cottage, where the enigmatic Flint woos his rescuer and love is born.

The tightly sprung script has Harry and Flint bouncing lines off one another with alacrity. Of the two Hill especially pitches all his lines perfectly, hitting notes from tender to casually cruel with an infectious confidence. His turn as the camp kleptomaniac with an unorthodox taste in desserts provides most of the humour, while Hannah's wry irony adds a depth of its own.

Although not averse to leaving the odd unexplained corpse dangling, Newby has created an eccentric and unselfconscious comedy which will surprise as much as it satisfies.