Lawless Heart

Lawless Heart


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

As a microcosm of English life, circa 2001, there is something deeply dysfunctional about Lawless Heart. A middle-aged farmer avoids starting an affair with an attractive French woman, because he's afraid of his feelings. The gay lover of the farmer's wife's brother, who died, has sex standing up with a stupid girl called Charlie in a deserted summer house. The prodigal ex-hippie who returns to an Essex village after blagging his way through eight years on the scrounge is still as charming and feckless as ever.

It appears that relationships are miserable - straight relationships, that is. Nick (Tom Hollander), the gay survivor of a happy "marriage", is sensitive and sensible, unlike the so-called-normal lot. Dan (Bill Nighy), the least likely looking farmer imaginable, tries to persuade his wife, who is taking care of her brother's financial matters, since he left no will, that they need the money more than Nick. She's not so sure, being more attuned to the emotional history.

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Tim (Douglas Henshall) arrives at the funeral, not knowing who died. Within 24 hours, he has got drunk, slept with a girl, tried to borrow £1000 and fallen out with his childhood friend. Nothing fazes him. He's like mercury. He slips through everyone's fingers.

In the new home-grown tradition of ensemble movies, Neil Hunter and Tom Hunsinger's film is well written and beautifully played. Sadly, it doesn't add up to a hill of beans, or rather, a pile of cow dung. Nighy has a voice like a wound-down gramophone. The lasting image is of Dan standing at the top of the stairs at the funeral reception trying to light a fag with a defunct lighter, which sums up the mood of the piece.

Henshall is a bloke's bloke and Hollander the whiter shade of pale. These actors seem to prop up modern Brit flicks and yet Daniel Day-Lewis, who hasn't been in anything for years, is more famous. Why?

Reviewed on: 19 Aug 2001
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Relationship ensemble drama, as lives intersect following a death.
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Trinity ****

Director: Neil Hunter, Tom Hunsinger

Writer: Neil Hunter, Tom Hunsinger

Starring: Douglas Henshall, Tom Hollander, Bill Nighy, Clementine Celarie, Josephine Butler, Ellie Haddington, Stuart Laing, Sukie Smith

Year: 2002

Runtime: 100 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


EIFF 2001

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