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Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Tom Hanks, Irma P Hall, Marlon Wayans, J K Simmons, Tzi Ma, Ryan Hurst
Directors: The Coen Brothers

“A great homage to the Ealing comedy era!”

“Waffles! We shall all have waffles forthwith!” is one of the many classic humorous lines G H Dorr PhD (Tom Hanks) mutters in his amusing accent. As always it is common nature to be tired of remakes but this one is actually quite good.

It opens with the weary God-fearing lady, Mrs Munson (Irma P Hall), making a complaint to the local (snoring) sheriff (George Wallace) about her neighbour and his “hippetty hop” music which of course is actually hip hop. Then, as G H Dorr PhD puts it ‘the darkening of her doorway’ by GH Dorr PhD as he turns up to inquire about her room to let and the possibility of using her root cellar to enable him and his ensemble to practice their music of the renaissance period that is also of course inspired by the gospels. It turns out that this ensemble of his is actually just a ruse to get into her cellar as his ensemble turn out to be a motley group of desperate criminals eager for the perfect score. Each member as in a musical ensemble has a specific part to play there is the tunnelling expert, the demolitions expert, the inside man, the dumb brute and of course the mastermind.

As the ensemble practice, or rather pretend to practice, the tunnel takes shape as it gets closer and closer to the local casino vault area and then true to form the mastermind’s plan works perfectly. Then in an unexpected turn the overbearing, well meaning Mrs Munson barges into their haven and discovers the booty. Despite the mastermind’s attempts to validate their deed she decides that they either return it all and go to church with her or she tells the police. “Extremely irregular”, mutters the mastermind upon pondering these new developments. Suffice to say that they are left with no choice as to how to solve the dilemma and this is where the final fun begins, as they decide to do away with her, which this leads to some very funny yet dark circumstances.

Tom Hanks is inspirational as G H Dorr PhD, from his brilliant accent, to his passion about the task at hand and his poetry, in particular Edgar Allan Poe. The supporting cast are all excellent too although George Wallace was poorly under utilised but he was good nonetheless.

Direction from the Coen brothers lived up to expectations and was skilfully handled with good cinematography, great choice of music as usual and the eerie, amusingly overly attentive cat watching the ensemble’s every move was achieved to great effect.

All in all this is still a dark comedy and may not be appreciated by many for that fact. Still this is definitely worth seeing not only for the splendid performance from Mr Tom Hanks but also for a good plot, the Coen brothers’ version, especially if you have not seen the original and is quite simply a first-class film.

Funny, dark and dramatic, but don’t go expecting to see the Farrelly brothers style of laugh-a-minute comedy, though it is funny nonetheless.

5 out of 6 stars