Heartlands

Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Michael Sheen, Mark Addy, Jim Carter, Celia Imrie, Ruth Jones, Phillipa Peak
Director: Damien O’Donnell

Colin (Michael Sheen) is a simple, married, British man, who runs an off-licence and has a real love for darts. He is too soft to stand up for himself and consequently always avoids confrontation. He goes through the same routine everyday – wakes up, gets on his motorbike, rides to work, after work plays darts and then it’s back to bed. His wife becomes increasingly fed up and embarks on an affair with one of his darts buddies, Geoff (Jim Carter), who also happens to be the chief police constable in their area. After Colin confronts her, she runs off with Geoff for the dart championships in Blackpool.

Colin is encouraged by a friend to chase her, so he jumps on his motorbike and sets off in ‘hot’ pursuit. On his way he meets a variety of people with many different personalities he has never known before, including Ron (Mark Addy) a slimy bartender. Ron ends up playing an interesting part in Colin’s journey, which turns into a trip of self-discovery that leads him into making decisions about his life that he thought he would never, ever make.

Michael Sheen gives a very sweet yet quietly determined performance as a man who appears to be a pushover and is nicely supported by Mark Addy as the dodgy, fun-loving bartender. Jim Carter is great as a wife-stealing brute of a policeman.

Damien O’Donnell’s directing is good, as he does not try to make the film into anything other than it is – a simple tale of a simple man rediscovering himself, no more and no less – and Damien keeps it in this territory.

All things considered it is a pleasant, simple uplifting tale with a nice, unusual ending, but the film could have benefited from some more background for the central character.

4 out of 6 stars

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