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Mister John [DVD]
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Following the mysterious death of his brother, a middle-aged man travels to Singapore to help out with the funeral arrangements and family affairs. There he discovers an exotic, intoxicating world, far removed from his troubled life in London. But as he is drawn towards his brother's beautiful wife and the sexual frankness of the local culture he begins to realise that escape isn't as easy as it seems... Starring Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones, The Wire, Queer as Folk, Shadow Dancer) and Claire Keelan (Nathan Barley, Black Mirror).
The new film from award-winning filmmakers Joe Lawlor & Christine Molloy (Helen, Who Killed Brown Owl).
4 STARS "An exotic thriller ensnared within a Lynchian nightmare of confused identities" Patrick Gamble, CineVue.
"Aidan Gillen gives a subtle, finely nuanced performance" Screen
4 STARS The Skinny, Screen Invasion (EIFF).
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Top Customer Reviews
Gerry has never been to see John in Singapore before, and in turn never met his wife Kim (Zoe Tay) and teenage daughter Sarah (Molly Rose Lawlor). The title of the film refers to the name of Johns bar, which Kim now has to run on her own. Gerry seems to have enough problems of his own, not least his dwindling relationship with his wife and daughter. Its an excuse that Gerry takes advantage of, the distraction of foreign climes and John's demise are at first enough to keep him occupied. He thrives on taking on the responsibility of standing in for John, he even wears John's clothes. Kim keeps her grief in check too, mostly to lessen the pain on her daughter.
`Mister John' is a clever film, and a very subtle one too. This beautifully shot film could have gone down many routes, but instead paints an opaque picture of a mans struggles within himself. Little is known about a lot of things, and you can't help but ask a lot of questions. Why had Gerry not seen John in such a long time? Why has his marriage broken down? Was John's death an accident? Is there more to John's business than we are shown? Who is Kim, and can she be trusted? None, and many others, go unanswered.
Rather than become frustrated by any lack of closure, you're fascinated with Gerry's passive acceptance of his troubles. Gerry does slowly reveal his impotence and vulnerability, issues which plague his relationship with his wife and brother. Its an incredibly subtle performance from the excellent Aidan Gillen, you witness a man who has finally come to terms with loss, and by doing so breaks down whatever wall was stopping him from moving on.
Meanwhile in Singapore he starts to warm to the charms of the place and the locals and the seemingly more laidback way of life. He also starts to get involved with the bar which seems to be selling a great deal more than cocktails, if you get my drift. So there are lots of beautiful young girls around the place who seem eager to make everyone have a `good time'. This is not a sexploitation film though, all of that is incidental, but in a country that is all smiles, booze and anything goes it is easy to see how ones head might get turned.
This is a slow drama that deals with a number of issues and definitely has a start and a middle the ending will be for the individual viewer to work out, but with all good things it is the journey as much as the destination that matters. Gillen is always excellent and he does not fail to disappoint here so a nice film, that will make you think but not too strenuously - this is one for those who like things a bit off the beaten track.
Aiden Gillen - something of a go-to actor for indie directors (check out Jamie Thraves’ 'Treacle Jnr' for example) carries the film as Gerry. Confused, sweaty and jet-lagged, he leaves behind a troubled marriage to attend the funeral in Singapore of John, the hostess-bar-owning brother he hardly seems to know. John has drowned, but the circumstances, like much else in the film, are unclear. You may feel this is laziness on the part of the directors/writers or you may feel it adds a satisfying narrative ambiguity. The film is definitely thoughtful and thought-provoking: Gerry’s problems with his unfaithful wife (again, their nature is unoriginal) are highlighted by numerous oblique episodes throughout the film (including being bitten by a snake whose venom gives him a three-day erection), and at times he seems to want to escape himself, become John, and in so doing fill the holes in his own life as well as in the lives of John’s family and friends. It is also measured and in parts highly moving (quite why the Telegraph’s critic labelled it a thriller, I have no idea) but unfortunately also feels oddly second-hand.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Watching paint dry was more exciting that this film. Life is too short
Giving this one star is three too many ! The most enjoyment was giving the rating
Slow brooding and excellant are 3 words to sum this up. Gillen is excellant as he uncovers secrets of his brothers death and secrest about his brother he never knew. Read morePublished on 14 April 2014 by mt b r thompson