41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on 1 September 2010
If you only buy one DVD of a British film buy Skeletons.
Skeletons is a darkly comic debut from Nick Whitfield with lineage through Ealing and European schools of film making.
The central characters Davis and Bennett are agents of Veridical and visit people's homes to metaphorically clean out skeletons from their closets; hidden and often dirty secrets which people are too weak to disclose themselves, and indeed the services offered by Veridical are perceived by the clients as a form of fanciful post-modernist therapy, and they do not truly believe that Davis and Bennett can discover their secrets.
The duo is played with both Pinter-esque menace and Sam Beckett comedy by Andrew Buckley and Ed Gaughan.
The film is a dark comedy with early laugh-out-loud scenes, but ultimately delivers a compelling message about loss and memory.
Unmistakeably English in its charming eccentricity, there are traces of great European films such as Delicatessen in its construction.
Skeletons is a gem of English independent cinema that fully deserves its accolades, and the award of the Michael Powell award for Best New British Feature Film at the Edinburgh Film Festival.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 16 September 2010
You couldn't be blamed for missing this at the cinema, because this one's had a hard time getting space. It's a tragic world we live in where the Resident Evils and the Grown Ups get screens, but something that's homegrown, would have a wide appeal and is funny, touching, thought provoking and not a little bit eccentric has to consign itself to a couple of showings a week at selected arthouses.
Now you have no excuse for not picking up the DVD. Andrew Buckley and Ed Gaughan are a very engaging lead duo, and as they navigate you through their off-kilter world, you will find yourself being quickly and completely drawn in. Jason Isaacs lends a name and a moustache to the cast, but everyone here is excellent, and writer / director excels on both counts and is one to watch for the future. Any attempt to describe the exact tone is doomed to failure, because without fear of hyperbole this one is genuinely unique and has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
If you've heard Jason Isaacs on the Kermode / Mayo 5 live podcasts, and wondered about that film that Isaacs keeps mentioning whenever he's on, then you owe it to yourself to check it out. We need more films like this to be made and shown in Britain, so do yourself a favour, and give Skeletons a go.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Skeletons is a poignantly funny, uniquely eccentric English psychic fantasy film set in contemporary times. Ed Gaughan and Andrew Buckley play Davis and Bennett, two experienced employees of Veridical, a shadowy company specialising in exhuming difficult and painful memories using a ‘procedure’ involving a Warehouse 13-esque hand-held device which goes ‘beep-beep’. Traversing the countryside with purpose, clad in ill-fitting black suits this droll duo are an endearing comedic pair as they unearth secrets hidden deep in family cupboards. However, when they are hired by an attractive middle-aged woman to investigate the disappearance of her husband eight years previously from an isolated cottage some of their own skeletons come to the fore as the stress of operating so long with psychic forces begins to take its toll. This is a marvellously delicate off-beat comedy which manages to successfully combine both a sharp dry humour and a feeling of genuine sadness and pain. Although some might regard this film as too slight and ambiguous I loved the gentle absurdity of it all – the going Bulgarian, the ‘glow chasing’ and especially Jason Isaac’s scene stealing turn as the gruff Colonel (the pair’s employer) complete with cap, moustache and a disconcerting habit of addressing his subordinates as "mush". I loved it.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 4 March 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed this unusual and entrancing film set in houses in the British countryside. It has really great locations and some really good actors, it is well filmed and has some highly memorable accents. The film is about two men who work for a company specialising in exorcising memories. The job is dangerous and stressful and both the men are on the edge. The film sees a lot of people who are stuck being able to move on by the end, which I though was lovely. Some of the shots and elements are wildly eccentric and quite brilliant, a breath of fresh air. This is a film about memories, friendship, relationships, the danger in looking back, trust and even, wonderfully and quite magically, references to Bulgaria (has to be seen to be believed).
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2010
This is a small budget but affecting movie that shows what can be done with some talent and imagination. The story is truly original and the telling of it is marvellous, pacey and amusing with moments of real tenderness and humour throughout.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 25 September 2012
It's strange how certain things stick in your mind, and my first exposure to this film came from a review on a website where there was a picture of the two leads, wearing suits and holding briefcases, as they walked along train tracks (something that happens a lot in the film) and it seemed so odd that it stuck in my memory and intrigued me enough to read about the film, which sounded like it had a nice blend of indie film mixed with the paranormal. Eventually I was reminded of the film again, and I quickly added it to my LoveFilm queue.
Skeletons won't be too everyone's taste. It doesn't explain itself fully and a lot of the storyline is dependant on the audience filling in the blanks and drawing their own conclusions. The basic premise is that the two leads work for an unusual agency, who visit people's homes and perform a pseudo-exorcism on the 'skeletons' in the closet, entering their memories to discover their secrets, then report back to the people. This is predominately used for couples to discover whether their spouse has any secrets, but eventually the two leads are given a different case to work - a missing persons case.
I really enjoyed this film, especially due to the complex nature of the plot and I can see the similarities to 'Inception', which focuses on dreams whereas this movie focuses on memories. I would like to have seen more adventures of this odd-couple pairing and particularly enjoyed the relationship between the two workers. It has a definite British feel and showcases a lot of the countryside with some long-shots of the duo walking towards their locations via the railroads.
Not all the questions are answered and the rules of their world aren't fully explained, but it doesn't need to be. The film works as a narrative within itself, but I would happily see further installments that expand the story and explain some of the finer details behind the agency and the methods used by the two protagonists to explore people's memories.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 15 September 2010
This movie is beautiful. It is dark, but funny, with a wonderful sense of tangential humour; the opening exchanges about Rasputin are akin to Python, Withnail and (as previously mentioned) Beckett. It also has heart and depth, with an emotional core that drives the narrative of the bungling protagonists through to their very satisfying resolutions. It also provides something of an existential essay on the human need for truth and closure.
It is beautifully shot, with wonderful cold, wintery tones that are a real testament to what can be done on a digital format. The performances are brilliant and the mysterious plot unravels superbly, without any telegraphed twists and turns. It's as visually rich as a Gondry film, but without too much whimsy.
In short, it's a brilliant film.
Davis and Bennett are two dark-suited employees of an organisation who perform what at first appear to be exorcisms. What they actually do is tap into peoples secrets, literally going into their closets airing secrets that might be holding someone back in their relationships or stopping them from moving on. They can only do this for the living.
They are booked by a woman, whose husband has vanished and whose daughter has not spoken for the last three years. This proves to be a more difficult case than normal, not helped by Davis being distracted by indulging in psychic trips back to his childhood to relive cherished memories of his parents and pressure from their boss, The Colonel to get the job done.
Often surreal and darkly humorous, the film nevertheless takes a humane and sympathetic look at problems of not being able to move on emotionally. It shows in a sensitive way that it is people not places that are haunted whether by memories, regret or loss.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 24 October 2010
This is the worst transfer from a film or recent video source that I've ever seen. It's quite literally VHS quality in places.
The film itself (by which I mean 'Skeletons') is superb but massively let down by the morons who put it on DVD where most people will see it!
At times it looks like it was recorded using a mobile phone, in fact my phone does far better than this travesty.
When 'Skeletons' was recommended to me I went looking for the inevitable Blu-Ray but to no avail. I was irked to have to make do with a DVD and astounded and saddened at the quality thereof.
on 28 October 2013
I watched this pilot episode on TV. I love supernatural topics, i found this had a really good story, the characters were totally brilliant it had a really good plot and i enjoyed it so much i had to have the DVD. It has a brilliant concept on the supernatural and mediumistic subject, it was interesting and funny. I would like to see more of this programme. I have watched the DVD twice and still love it.