Late Night Shopping

Late Night Shopping


Reviewed by: Nicola Osborne

As a basic idea it's certainly got potential: in a world running 24 hours a day who are the poor sods doing all those awful jobs like taking our enquiries to customer services at half past two in the morning? More importantly just what happens to your lives, relationships and all that stuff when you're always on nights?

Ok, it's a broad brief and the chances of delivering are a wee bit remote but Late Night Shopping certainly makes a valiant effort at it. Set in Glasgow in the hours between dusk and dawn (though mercifully avoiding too many speeded up changing skies after the first few attempts to illustrate this) we follow four nocturnal shift workers mostly during their breaks though we do (god forbid!) actually see them working occasionally.

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Sean (Luke de Woolson in cutely forgiveable form) is a hospital porter and a relatively sane lad except for his ever more dysfunctional relationship with his girlfriend. The thing is he hasn't actually seen her for weeks (she works days, he works nights) so he obsessionally scours the flat clues that she still lives with him.

Vincent (a suprisingly slimey James Lance) is the ladies man: a different woman each night won by some of the most appalling chat up lines on earth. And his glamorous job? Shelf stacker. Offering advice on everything except woman is workmate Joe (a doggedly paternal Laurie Vintry) who seems to do all the actual work while Vincent considers his navel.

Vincent is, however, everything that Lenny (Enzo Cilenti) is not. Lenny answers directory enquiries calls all night and he's fallen in love with the new girl a couple of partitions over from him in the depressing open plan office. Lenny has a sensible car, driving gloves and a pathological fear of anything exciting. Naturally, this is far too amusing for the gang not to take the piss out of.

Adding a much-needed female perspective is Jody (an underused Kate Ashfield on top form) who spends her nights soldering circuit boards. Jody is feisty, independent and infinitely more complex than her mates - which makes you wonder right from the first meeting why on earth she'd waste her time on them. Despite Ashfield having the meatiest character (or maybe that's just her performance helping the script along) she's given little to do as the lads sit self-indulgently pondering their disastrous love-lives.

So where can this go? Well, as much potential as there is in the slow-moving and stylish nocturnal moments, the filmakers instead go horribly unimaginative without warning as the gang take to the road to sort out a misunderstanding over (German one-time VJ) Heike Makatsch. So now we have a droopy British road movie and we're still stuck listening to the lads winging.

Some good basic ideas, eye-catching cinematography and a reasonable score (especially the consistantly funny soft rock joke) cannot quite save the day, although it is not without its moments. The performances are more than adequate without being inspiring. Also, for a film set in Glasgow a stunning lack of anything Scottish let along Glaswegian rears its head, although there is a great welsh cameo in the supermarket.

This is odd, and a bit of a shame. Why not set it in Swindon if you're going for genuinely bland? Perhaps Glasgow offered financial incentives? Maybe the idea is to keep a global appeal and secure those all-important international sales though this is not an idea that sits well with writer Jack Lothian's subtle damning of the impersonal homogenised world.

Reviewed on: 27 Jun 2001
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Late Night Shopping packshot
Night shift workers go slightly insane, consider their navels and ignore the only interesting character among them in this so-so Brit drama.
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Read more Late Night Shopping reviews:

Angus Wolfe Murray ****

Director: Saul Metzstein

Writer: Jack Lothian

Starring: Luke De Woolfson, James Lance, Kate Ashfield, Enzo Cilenti, Heike Makatsch, Shauna Macdonald, Sienna Guillory, Laurie Ventry

Year: 2001

Runtime: 91 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK,


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