24 November 2005 | Theo Robertson
Not What It Claims To Be
I've waited to watch this for a long time . Round about the same time Paul McGann was cast as The Doctor in the American DOCTOR WHO television movie it was announced he'd be starring in a British DIE HARD type of thriller called DOWNTIME . That's what the exact phrase was " A British version of DIE HARD " and being a DOCTOR WHO fan there's nothing I and many other fans would have liked more seeing a former DOCTOR WHO being as famous as Bruce Willis . I heard absolutely nothing more about DOWNTIME until it was broadcast on Channel 4 a couple of years ago which I somehow managed to miss . I didn't see it until last night and to be blunt I didn't miss much
The fact that it's set in Newcastle and filmed in Liverpool ( Let this be the final word on settings and locations ) sums up the whole movie - It's something it's not in the same way Newcastle is not really Newcastle and this is not really a British DIE HARD , it's a love story except for much of the running time the movie meanders in lots of directions . For a few minutes it thinks it's a crime thriller , then decides it's going to be a kitchen sink drama , then gets up on its soap box to scream what a terrible place modern Britain is . Maybe an appropriate title for the movie might have been DIE HARD : TRY HARDER AT KEEPING A SCRIPT FOCUSED ?
It's not just the lack of focus that's a problem ( Though that's the main one ) it's other things too . Can anyone buy into Rob falling in love with Chrissy ? Neither can I . And I notice this is a French co-production . Perhaps I would have understood the dialogue better if it was spoken in fluent French because I had a serious problem making out the broad Geordie accents . Oh and unsurprisingly the film gets comes to a halt which led me to believe the last ten minutes ended up on the cutting room floor
DOWNTIME is a very ironic film since its often revolves a lift . Lifts can only go up or down but this movie moves in so many unlikely directions