London's Tubes: cylindrical objects underground crammed full of blank faces with blank pasts and blank futures. However, Tube Tales
endeavours to expel this theory, even if it's just for the length of time it takes nine short stories to flicker past your eyes. Created via a competition in Time Out
magazine, which asked their readers to send in stories relating to experiences on the London Underground, a group of directors were then charged with the task of bringing the public' s images of the tube to life for 12 minutes each. Showcased at the London Film Festival 1999 and then moving on to be shown on Sky Premier a few days later (this being the first film Sky has produced) it is possibly one of the most intriguing and underrated dramas to come out of Britain at the turn of the new century. These films offer a great showcase for British talent, combining established stars like Ray Winston in "My Father the Liar" with new up-and-coming actors like Hans Matheson in "Steal Away", the film also offers a great chance to play spot-the-star. Along with this Tube Tales
offers many actors their first chance to try out their talents behind the lens with directorial debuts from Ewan McGregor-"Bone", a beautiful story of a man's fleeting obsession with a photograph--and Jude Law--"A Bird in the Hand", which brings a little bit of nature back to the Cement City. Both these directors choose to offer very calm and ambling visuals with little dialogue (how many people actually talk to strangers on the Tube?), allowing the power of images and body language to take hold. In another way Bob Hoskins "My Father the Liar" and Gaby Dellal's "Rosebud" offers us a version of the tube through the eyes of a child, a place populated by innocents and full of terror. In diverse contrast are the offerings from Armando Iannucci ("Mouth") and Stephen Hopkins ("Horny"), who both offer a grotesque humoristic interpretation of their stories. However, the true showpiece of these films is the last, Charles McDougall's "Steal Away", an energetic and exuberant piece which turns into a spiritual journey. Many of these films wash over your emotions, evoking laughter, innocence and desire, but "Steal Away" leaves you with strong opinions on the nature of humanity. Nikki Disney
On the DVD: The special features are predictably laid out like a tube map. Given the wealth of talent on display in Tube Tales the disc is happily littered with interviews, trailers and on-location features, offering opinions and theories on the Tube from the huge cast and crew that went into the making of these films. Picture and sound quality are impeccable.
A collection of short films set on or around the London underground. Actors Tom Bell, Ray Winstone, Denise Van Outen, Dexter Fletcher and Lee Ross all lend their talents in front of the camera, while a number of their colleagues - including Bob Hoskins, Armando Iannucci, Jude Law and Ewan McGregor - try their hands at directing. The stories included in the film were all taken from a competition held by Time Out magazine, in which readers were invited to write in with an account of their most unusual tube experience.