19 November 1998 | Stig-4
Oldman cuts to the bone
In Sturges' classic "Sullivan's Travels," a swank film director announces to his butler: "I'm going out on the road to find out what it's like to be poor and needy, and then I'm going to make a film about it." The butler snorts: "It you permit me to say Sir, the subject is not an interesting one. The poor know all about poverty, and only the morbid rich would find the topic glamorous." Love it or hate it, Nil by Mouth digs deep inside and never lets you go. Unlike Sullivan, Oldman had only to look inside himself to find his subject. He does an honest and remarkable job. Of course a film of this type is not going to win any Oscars - Oldman didn't make it to please anyone. Most will find this nihilistic and depressing, and they're right. Suffice to say, Oldman is a natural craftsman. If he continues to follow his heart and gut, who knows what else he might accomplish. A remarkable debut.