Rag Tale

Movie Review by Susan Hodgetts

Starring: Rupert Graves, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Lucy Davis, John Sessions

Director: Mary McGuckian

This tale is unusual in several respects. With a fantastic cast, it’s the first in a trilogy of movies shot in the same style. Mixing black and white with colour footage, the film follows a week at a typical tabloid newspaper.

Any journalistic notion goes out the window as suddenly the life of the office is taken over by a major power struggle. Editor Eddy (Rupert Graves) is having an affair with his deputy editor, MJ (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who also happens to be the chairman’s wife. Office politics rule the roost. No one seems to get any work done unless it’s to piss somebody else off and the only thing getting edited is serial shagger Eddy.

But this film falls down in other respects. It drags in places, the dialogue not always matching up to the demanding pace set by the film’s visual style. The plot’s twist is ludicrous and how anyone could buy into the set up with a straight face must have meant heavy bribery.

The furious hand-held jerks, skewy angles, zooms and over editing (no shot seems to last longer than a fraction of a second) makes it feel like you’ve ended up inside a tumble dryer instead of a cinema. The thumping club soundtrack, Canary Wharf-esque set design and copious amounts of cocaine add to its fast living, modernist ethos. DROP THE DEAD DONKEY it ain’t.

But for all its stylistic and idealistic novelties, it can’t make up for that good old fashioned cornerstone – a decent plot.

3 out of 6 stars

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