Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
United Kingdom/France/Italy/Belgium/Spain, 2009. Sixteen Films, Film Four, Canto Bros., Wild Bunch, France 2 Cinema, Why Not Productions, BIM Distribuzione, Tornasol Films, Les Films Du Fleuve, Radio Television Belge Francophone. Screenplay by Paul Laverty. Cinematography by Barry Ackroyd. Produced by Rebecca O’Brien. Music by George Fenton. Production Design by Fergus Clegg. Costume Design by Sarah Ryan. Film Editing by Jonathan Morris. Cannes Film Festival 2009.
Thank God for celebrity fantasies or we would never get through our troubles. Eric Bishop (Steve Evets) has been working as a postman for years and finds the troubles of his life coming to a head: he has been reunited with the woman he abandoned while pregnant decades ago and feels himself wanting to rekindle a lost romance; at the same time he lives with his slovenly stepsons and really steps in it when his one kid decides to be an arms carrier for a local mobster, bringing no end of bodily threat upon the entire family. How does he escape his troubles? Eric looks to the poster of soccer star Eric Cantona on his wall, and Cantona in turn does what celebrities do best: comes alive in our protagonist’s fantasies and gives him sage advice (full of the athlete’s famously wry proverbs). Ken Loach goes light (for him) with this gritty kitchen sink comedy that indulges in a charming level of whimsy and creates a surprisingly balanced combination of both. Its boldness in allowing all of its elements to shine, right down to the crowd-pleasing ending, makes for a wonderful treat in all respects, and Evets is terrific in the lead.