5 April 2004 | Theo Robertson
Face It - It`s Badly Written
Having seen FACE makes you wonder how badly written a script must be for it to be turned down for funding and produced scripts don`t come much worse than Ronan Bennett`s FACE . First of all what`s with the politics ? Ray used to be a commie ? Fair enough , if you can`t be a communist when you`re young when can you be one ? But this has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with either the plot or character development . The characters discuss the plight of the Kurds but this leads absolutely nowhere , and it should also be pointed out not all Kurdish groups are alligned to ultra left wing politics either ( Anyone heard of Ansar Al Islam ? ) so Bennett`s made a double blunder on that front . Secondly there`s incidents which like the politics just seem to be included for the sake of it . Remember the firefight of BLACK HAWK DOWN ? Well we see a couple of similar gun battles here . That`s right a British crime thriller emulates the battle of Mogadishu , oh and there`s a bizarre scene of the bad guys opening the boot of their car to let out one of their collegues - who`s been tied up ! - in the middle of a crowded street !! - while the police are searching for them !!! . Finally I wish to apologise if I used the word "Characters " in this review since this may give the impression Bennett has written characters - He hasnt . He`s written cyphers to speak lines and push the plot along . Take Stevie for example who`s written as an idiotic comic book geek but still beats people up when the script demands it
Director Antonia Bird manages to rise above the script which when you stop to consider how bad the script is doesn`t come across as much of a compliment - That`s because it`s not supposed to be much of a compliment . Bird too hits us over the head with politics like having buildings covered in political graffiti and anti racist posters . Did I mention there`s no political subtext in this film ? because the director seems to think there might be , and despite enjoying the Britpop soundtrack there`s no real context for having all these songs included . If I remember correctly this was a problem with Bird`s later film RAVENOUS of having a jarring soundtrack and it should be pointed out that often the music drowns out the dialogue which is difficult to make out in the first place due to poor soundmixing
It`s difficult to believe after reading this review but I awarded FACE six out of ten mainly due to the cast doing such a great job . Carlyle`s accent is faultless , Phil Davis plays Julian ( Strange name for a psychotic nutter Mr Bennett ? ) with infectious glee and how many other movies have you seen Ray Winstone get into a shoot out while wearing a Dalek T-shirt ?