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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 27 August 2001
Don't take this film seriously or you will be disappointed. I thoroughtly enjoyed it. This film is pure entertainment and has a surprising but excellent soundtrack that really polishes the film off. The extras on the DVD are okay with the trailer and some good cast interviews. The behind the scene filming is just that, a film about the filming but without any commentary and is not worth watching. However you can change the filming angle in some scene, although you will have to play and work out how to do it on your DVD.
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on 17 April 2000
The actors in this film are wonderfully well chosen.Jonny Lee Miller is a sex-god, that's my first reason! Robert Carlyle is a first-class actor and together, they make an unlikely but compelling pair. Alan Cumming is superb as always in his role as Rochester - very sexually charged! The costumes are stunning, and I adored the music and have even bought the CD. This is worth it alone for the music to my favourite scene in the film, the ball. This is utterly engaging and the music throbs in a very suggestive way! Brilliant stuff... I liked the script which was not overly olde worlde and very funny in places. The storyline is not overly original (but what is, these days?) but I thought it was very well portrayed. Dashing highwaymen (especially a gentleman!) should always be a big hit. Oh, and George Dawes is in it, too! A very watchable film which is compelling in places.
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on 2 December 2005
Like a bright button on a dandy’s waistcoat, this film is real gem! Made with very 21st century sensibilities (and soundtrack) it is a true Restoration Period romp, and is like Hogarth’s paintings of the ‘Rakes Progress’ and ‘Gin Alley’ brought to vivid life on DVD. It’s a bawdy, squalid but glamorous world where the ‘respectable’ rich get their vicarious kicks from partying with villains and rubbing shoulders with roughtrade (not really so very different from nowadays - just ask Guy Ritchie and all those ‘Lock Stock’ wannabees, or take a look around any trendy West-end club!).
Stylised it might be, but the film evokes its 18th century period so well – this was a time when a member of the royal family was mugged in his sedan chair in Covent Garden, children were hanged for pinching a loaf of bread, and when the real highwayman Dick Turpin rode Black Bess into legend. That said, the story unfolds with a very ‘olde Englishe’ spin on all the elements and themes you’d expect to find in a classic Sergio Leone spaghetti western: two ‘heroes’ thrown into an unlikely and uneasy partnership, bound by thieves’ honour and greed; a beautiful girl; corrupt and avaricious officials; a psychopathic villain, suitably dressed in black; and the prospect of the last man standing getting the gold and the girl. The whole set-up and especially the finale at Tyburn gibbet is certainly a nod (whether conscious or not) to Leone’s ‘Good, the Bad & the Ugly’ – and I say this as a compliment, not a criticism.
All in all, a great romp, great entertainment and great fun. Pay your money and take the ride, enjoy this ripping yarn for what it is, and don’t take it too seriously!!! I would almost have given it full marks, but some roguish felon in the ‘Plunkett & Macleane’ film tie-in & merchandising department decided to omit the Tiger Lillies brilliant songs from the soundtrack CD – and that, my good man, is a hangin’ offence, to be sure!
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on 20 March 2000
Set in 17th Century London, this movie depicts the life of Captain James McLaine "The Gentleman Highwayman". Whilst only very loosly based on the true story, it is a ripping yarn none the less.
The movie really depicts the filth and squalour of the times, and the images are very realistic, although I feel the film ws slightly spoilt by the inclusion of modern Rock, and Dance music, which was good, but innapropriate to the timeframe.
Make no bones about it, this is a truly excellent movie, although the torture, and hanging scenes may have been a little over done.
Buy it, you won't be dissapointed.
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on 13 July 2000
It's eclectic: witness a modern electronica soundtrack to an 18th century aristocracy ball. It's enjoyable: the bad guys always get their comeuppance. And importantly it's hugely entertaining -- in an imbecilic, Lethal Weapon kind of way. So what if the plot is stuck on tramlines? Does every film need to be sophisticated and prompt deep thoughts? Can't a bit of imagination, creativity, and plain old fashioned fun fill the gap? Of course it can!
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on 10 May 2010
Having seen the film previously, probably on the telly or round a mates, I was overjoyed to find it available on DVD.

From the cast of some the best known names in British film acting including Alan Cumming and Michael Gambon to name only two you'd have thought that the powers that be would have done justice to what is an innovative piece of cinema (I mean not a Georgian waltz but contemporary dance music demonstrating the parallels of then and now) but no.
The video transfer to DVD is, for want of better words, dark and grainy and though overflowing with non-english subtitles (not a bad thing for language students, I agree) the positive absence of anything resembling special features or production items (ok but who wants to see the trailer for a film already purchased) suggests to this fan of the film that the DVD was distributed solely on the thinking, "What do we care, some fool will buy it!" and not for any appreciation of the films true worth to British Cinematographical history.

I've seen better video transfers on films mates have bought from . .you know. . .that mate of a mate who sells the cheap movies that were imported from the far/middle east, you know the one with the quick coat and his way of moving really fast eventhough not moving his legs. Yeah that one, that fella at the car booty

Top marks for what is a touching, riotous romp in those far off cruel germ-infested Georgian days when non-licenced sexual therapists had their own strains of social discourse.

For the distibution company . . . . do us a favour . . . please. Clean up your game and show some respect where it's due, to the actors, filmmakers and the viewing fandom.
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VINE VOICEon 18 April 2011
Plunkett & Macleane caught me by surprise. The trailer opened with typical period drama pretentiousness before turning into a punkish, rebellious wild ride. When I went to see it at the cinema (during its extremely limited theatrical run) I hadn't even planned on it that day. I just turned up in time and decided to take a chance. A wise choice indeed, as I was in a bad mood that day and this movie really cheered me up.

It's London, it's 1748, Robert Carlisle and Johnny Lee Miller play the titular highwaymen from opposite ends of the social spectrum. Will Plunkett brings the highway know-how while Captain James Macleane makes the connections to high society. Lord Gibson takes personal offence to their antics after being robbed, but her Niece Lady Rebecca (the lovely Liv Tyler) falls in love with Macleane, and his unusual gentlemanly ways. Ken Stott plays the truly vile Chance, the police inspector determined to see the men hang at any cost, and one of the nastiest villains in recent film history.

Jake Scott (son of Ridley, nephew of Tony) directs with a style that fuses Gothic tones with post-modernism. This is no Pride and Prejudice. Plunkett & Macleane is glam rock on acid while retaining all of the usual gritty, earthy production designs of previous Ridley/Tony films. Amazingly, Jake Scott would not direct another film until 11 years after this got released.

There is a strange rumor persistent on the internet that Plunkett & Macleane (inspired by true story, don't you know) began life as a completely different film. I recall seeing production stills in magazines in 1996 (three years before its release), and there have been suggestions that it was originally called 'The Lady Highwayman' with Liv Tyler as the lead and Carlisle and Miller merely as supporting characters. The original screenplay by Selwyn Roberts apparently featured bizarre mathematical subtext before being heavily re-written by Bond-scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. I'm not sure if any of the original material made it into the final, 99-minute, cut of the film.

A score by Trevor Jones was also apparently rejected in favor of Craig Armstrong. While I have no idea what Jones may or may not have recorded for this film, there is no doubt that Armstrong's work is utterly amazing, probably his career best. I urge you to go out and purchase the Plunkett and Macleane - Score.

Plunkett & Macleane seems to have fallen into obscurity since its release. Don't let it pass you by though, it's loads of fun and deserved a wider audience.

The DVD however, looks absolutely terrible, and is surely one of the worst looking movies I have ever seen on the format. I do wish Universal would remaster this for a Blu Ray release.
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on 8 May 2015
I recall this disappearing quite quickly on release, but Jake Scott's debut is well-paced and lively, if also a bit self-consciously modish. Visually, it's a treat and if Scott overloads the squalor in his 1748 London, why not? Tyburn and Newgate Prison are foul and frightening and you can see why a
treacherous sea journey to America seemed like the best way out.Some adore the sound-track. I found much of the music intrusive and pointless. Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle, two of the Trainspotting gang, play well off each other as charming, but unreliable fop and gruff, embittered widower, forming a ropey (pun intended), but surprisingly effective highwaymen combo. Liv Tyler scores on looks alone, not much mystique about her leading lady, but in fairness it's a standard-issue noble damsel role. Michael Gambon hams it up as required, but Ken Stott's Chance is a magnificently horrible adversary. Alan Cumming's Rochester, if not exquisite, has enough one-liners and camp confidence to help move things along. It's a yarn well told. Not in the same class at The Libertine and not one for professional historians, but if you like stolen jewels and duels at dawn, banter and bastards, look no further. Meanwhile, check out Dr Syn The Scarecrow with Patrick McGoohan.
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on 19 September 2008
Sometimes a bit of hard, dark and amusing period-drama is just what the doctor ordered, taking a break from BBC endless remakes of nicety-nice Jane Austin and Charles Dickens books that we all pay our licence fees for !!!

High-way man Plunkett (Carlyle) teams up with ex-socialite Macleane (Miller) to rob the London gentry of their wears, along the way becoming infamous and inciting the wrath of the local authorities.

I felt that the film was just the right mix of drama and comedy, with serious events separated by moments of shear comic genius. Macleane encouraging Plunkett to eat more prunes and trying to catch a large ruby as it worked its way through his system, along with trying to cure a dose of the clap caught in the line of duty with gun-powder are probably worth watching this movie for on their own.

This movie is quite literally a star studied cast of British talent, with guest appearances by Alan Cummings and Little Britain stars Lucas and Williams - who I really did not remember in this movie when I first saw it. Ken Scott as the vicious - and somewhat sadist and perverted - Thief Taker General Chance was a pure stroke of casting genius.

I saw this film years ago and enjoyed it as much then as I do now, and rate this movie along with `The Escapist' as Miller's best work. The only down side for me was the offspring of Kermit and Miss Piggy appearing to sing some of the soundtrack !! Still, and excellent one hour and thirty-seven minutes of pure escapism ! 4 out of 5, and would have been well worthy of a sequel !
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on 18 July 2000
Having seen the trailer for this film in the cinema last year, I was simply blown away. A cool tale of two highway men, some big beat soundtrack and a 'we don't care' attitude, certainly promised some entertaining viewing.
What a shame then that the octual outcome does not live up to these expectations. Carlyle and Miller are great as the two main characters, but the plot hardly gives the two actors enough to work with. The script writers rely too much on corse language and actions, and the story simly does not move on from there, and the ending is rather weak.
All in all I still think that the actual idea is excellent. The actors do a more than competent job, and the techno music certainly works in conjunction with the setting. But the audience needs more of a plot to remain interested, and that is where the whole project is ultimately let down.
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