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John Cleese plays a school headmaster obsessed with punctuality whose best laid plans to attend a headmasters' conference go wrong when he boards the wrong train. He turns back to find alternative means of transport, hijacking one of his pupils who is taking the afternoon off school in her father's car. As the journey descends into further chaos, the head begins to lose his schoolmasterly poise.
Clockwise is a light-hearted farce that works because John Cleese is so effective as the tightly wound, punctilious headmaster whose well-organised life unravels in a series of disasters on his journey to a conference. Cleese is a master of fussy, fastidious characters in exasperating situations, bottling up his frustration under good manners and sardonic comments until he finally blows, but hes also startlingly vulnerable as he systematically loses all sense of himself. Dressed in monks robes and stranded on a lonely country road, he looks down at his naked wrist and sighs, "Ive even lost the time". Michael Fryan (the playwright of Noises Off) doesnt really have much of a story behind the situations, but he provides plenty of complications, and Cleese holds the film together with his brittle manner, single-minded drive, and hilarious headmasters condescending haughtiness. While it will seem slight to many, Cleese fans will love it.--Sean Axmaker, Amazon.com
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The clothing and the cars look very 1980s, but I don't care. It's Cleese doing his thing, and it's brilliant.
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