6 October 2000 | Robin Kelly
Rather lazily one newspaper review compared Sorted unfavourably with Billy Elliot. Although Sorted has its faults it is just as good as Billy Elliot and didn't annoy me nearly as much.
The most obvious difference between the films for me is that while Billy Elliot is amateurish, Sorted is written and directed by professionals whose idea of educating themselves about film involves more than simply watching Kes.
However as I said it has its faults. The film has an whodunit element whose reveal is a surprise but I don't think it was foreshadowed enough in the character development, if I'm being generous (or downright misleading if I'm not). The first two acts are nicely paced and very interesting but I have problems with the last act. It is a traditional Hollywood last act with lots of things happening and everything tied up neatly in a big finish. Unfortunately I hate traditional Hollywood last acts because they're so predictable through all the twists and turns.
The plotting is strong and well done however it does fall down in some aspects. The MacGuffin is introduced too late for something of such importance and at one point, when it is found, the finder still keeps looking for it just so they can be discovered. The hero can find out what's on the MacGuffin by using the computer in his own apartment but for story progression's sake he takes it to somebody else's apartment. When we see what's actually on the MacGuffin it's something that can be printed off or the details passed on verbally in a single sentence. From experience I know that finding a good believable MacGuffin is difficult but you've just got to do the work.
Characterisation is good, generally, although the scene at Justin's memorial where everyone was introduced was too obvious. Acting is good, generally, although Tim Curry seems as if he walked in from a completely different picture. Jovy should learn the following line for future reference, "less darling, give me less." I guess he was so chuffed to have a big star in the movie he didn't feel he could say that. Although to be fair to Curry, if you write a character as a Shakespeare quoting old-fashioned villain there are limited choices on how to play it. Matthew Rhys proves he's not a poor man's Jude Law (the director's original choice for the part) but a star in his own right.
The club scenes are convincing and work well and the music is brilliant throughout - I was dancing in the aisles. There is also a good use of locations.
Alex Jovy was featured in the Channel 4 documentary series Movie Virgins as he tried to raise finance for his film. It wasn't until the last episode of rooting for him to succeed that I thought, "hold on, I bet the script's c**p and he can't direct." Actually Villier's script is mostly good and Jovy's direction is very good.
I hope this film makes its money back and it certainly deserves to.