movie film review | chris tookey

Plunkett And Macleane

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  Plunkett And Macleane Review
Tookey's Rating
1 /10
Average Rating
4.00 /10
Will Plunkett: Robert Carlyle, James Macleane: Jonny Lee Miller, Lord Rochester: Alan Cumming
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Directed by: Jake Scott
Written by: Peter Barnes, Charles McKeown

Released: 1999
Origin: GB
Colour: C
Length: 93

Robert Carlyle (pictured left) and Jonny Lee Miller (pictured right) play two highwaymen - one a yob, the other a gentleman - who become the Bonnie and Clyde of the 18th century. Then the posh one falls for a beautiful girl (Liv Tyler, pictured centre), who is ward to the Chief Justice (Michael Gambon) and reluctantly betrothed to the wicked thieftaker-general (Ken Stott). Will romance turn buddy-buddies into bloody bodies?
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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It is horribly easy to imagine how this movie was pitched. "It's Trainspotting meets The Three Musketeers!" or "It's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid meets The Duellists!" Unfortunately, the modernity annihilates any period charm or authenticity. The 18th century is just a scenic backdrop for very late 20th century actors behaving self-indulgently. Normally reliable actors such as Robert Carlyle and Jonny Lee Miller come across as mindless yobs. Liv Tyler looks gorgeous but modern, and far from aristocratic. She never shows the slightest acting ability.

Director Jake Scott - son of Ridley - directs in a frantic, incoherent style with flashes of visual flair but no sense of geography or idea of how to tell a story. As for the script, well… Plunkett and Macleane? Plonky and profane, more like.

Deliberately anachronistic dialogue can be used (as in Disney's Hercules) to generate laughter, or (as in Shakespeare in Love) to show how much in common the past has with the present day.

But here it seems to have arisen out of ignorance, and a complete lack of interest in any differences between then and now. The characters are one-dimensional, the situations cliched, unimaginative and implausible. Dismally dreary and increasingly annoying for its air of mindless self-congratulation, this is one of the most depressing experiences of the year - MERE HIGHWAY YOBBERY.

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