Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

A star-studded cast is not enough to guarantee 10 minutes of quality time. It needs the added ingredients of a sharp script and a director who knows his knuckles from his beeswax.

Bouncer has the full set. Ray Winstone has always been a bull in a china shop. Here, he is a bull in a bullpen, the hard man of the title, chippy about respect, wise about troublemakers ("Just because they walk away, don't mean they're not coming back") and the nature of the work ("The end of the shift is the most vunerable time for a doorman"), honest about facing an angry punter in the fire of the moment with a blade in his fist ("All of us are full of fear up to the brim; some hide it better than others").

Although he dominates with fierce authority and naked aggression, there is, as so often in a Winstone role, a sensitive side, capable of tears. Geoff Thompson, who wrote the script, uses a voice-over narrative - Winstone's - as an engine for the plot. He is explaining the job, looking back on it, as if to explain what happened, making a little sense, maybe, finding the motive.

If present time is the bouncer working out in a gym, past time is a flashback to that night when he brutally ejects a skinny guy in trainers (Paddy Considine), who pulls a knife from his pocket in the street at the back of the club and threatens to carve him up.

Director Michael Baig-Clifford has worked wonders with his actors and seems in full control of the plot's intricate construction. Even the punchline is cleverly hidden.

A very confident piece of business.

Reviewed on: 27 Nov 2003
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Memories of a bad night at the back of the club.

Director: Michael Baig-Clifford

Writer: Geoff Thompson

Starring: Ray Winstone, Shaun Parkes, Ronnie Fox, Paddy Considine

Year: 2003

Runtime: 10 minutes

Country: UK


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