0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Cobbled together bit of fun.,
This review is from: Le Donk And Scor-Zay-Zee [DVD] (DVD)
Okay, this isn't the usual Shane Meadows fayre - slightly less gritty and without that realism he's become synonymous with. But let's not forget that the likes of Room For Romeo Brass and Once Upon a Time In The West Midlands had a strong comedy element, and besides which - this is a character driven film depicting a man coming to terms with the realities of life, so perhaps not too un-Meadows-like after all.
Le Donk is the subject of a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the washed-up wannabe musician still desperately trying to be part of the scene. Le Donk plays it cool, dropping swear words into sentences and regaling us with his deep philosophy on life, you see straight through it, his ambitions remain unfulfilled and he's in denial over the fact that his ex-girlfriend is in a relationship with someone else now even if she is expecting his baby any time soon. Much of the comedy comes from Le Donk working on his on-camera image completely unaware that talking about how he wants to come across just serves to undermine it all. He's not a figure of fun though and this is where the collaborative talents of Meadows and Paddy Considine really work, we don't see a joke of a man, he reflects part of us all, the part with dreams we always had but life just kind of got in the way (and maybe they were unrealistic dreams anyway). I get the impression that a considerable chunk of the film is improvised and so it feels quite fresh and loosely constructed. This means it loses direction a bit and there are some weaker moments, it lacks the intensity of other Meadows/Considine titles and you may find your attention wandering at times, but it's always watchable at the very least.
There are some comedy gems here, some are subtle and some are more obvious - favourites include; a rapper reading the instruction booklet to a keyboard he has no batteries for, Le Donk's thoughts on having a kid these days now that you can get updates via the web is a bit like "having a cyber-pet", and what looked like an ad-libbed moment of acknowledgement when a newborn baby is clearly a good few months old and they say with a knowing grin that he was the biggest the hospital have delivered. It's obvious watching this that those involved had a lot of fun making it, you could argue it's a bit of a vanity flick with the team behind it making it for the sake of getting together and having a laugh - but that sense of fun really carries through the screen and you almost feel like you're in on the joke. Other than Le Donk, the majority of the actors here use their actual names (even Olivia Colman's real life son) and that just adds to the light-heartedness of the feature. It is surreal watching long-time collaborator Shane Meadows asking Paddy Considine if he's familiar with his films.
The acting talent here is never anything less than perfect, the often jovial tone is never compromises the characters' depth and even during the most over-the-top moments the ensemble feel like real characters. The DVD quality is what you expect - it doesn't look pristine but it's not meant to, it successfully captures the documentary look and much of it is filmed on amateur video cameras. The extras have some additional scenes and some promotional stuff from the Edinburg Film Festival.
In a nutshell: As with all Shane Meadows films, this is character driven and instead of mocking the hapless groupie we see the big softy behind the 'cool' facade. This feels like a bit of fun rather than 'proper' film, a spontaneous experiment or a feature length DVD extra. It still has a poignancy though and the film is careful to never lose that without ever over-milking it. I was going to give this three stars but the best bits of this film are genuinely brilliant so I'll stick my neck out for four.
Location: Doncaster, Yorkshire, UK.
Top Reviewer Ranking: 70