On A Clear Day

On A Clear Day


Reviewed by: Tony Sullivan

A ship's launch signals the end of a way of life for a group of Glaswegian workers, who are made redundant. This devastating effect causes Frank (Peter Mullan) to focus on his other talents and he begins to nurture a dream of swimming the English Channel. On the family front, his wife (Brenda Blethyn) finds herself looking for employment as a bus driver and his abrasive manner has long alienated their son, whereby lurks a deeper tragedy. His sceptical, incompetent and supportive work mates aid and hinder his attempt.

A feel-good tale of triumph and redemption against the odds, On A Clear Day belongs to a cycle of films that began with The Full Monty and most recently included Calendar Girls, wherein beleaguered individuals set themselves a seemingly ludicrous goal, which reaffirms their self-belief.

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Mullan brings a gruff, no-nonsense persona to his role, making Frank's emotional journey well worth taking, and Blethyn, as the short-suffering wife, has warmth and a separate agenda.

Billy Boyd steals every scene he is in, as a comic, hero-worshipping colleague of Frank's, who somehow contrives to complicate the proceedings. Special mention should be made of Jodhi May, Jamie Sives and, particularly, Benedict Wong (The Bill) in one of the few non-stereotypical Asian roles I can recall.

Gaby Dellal directs confidently with a style that matches Mullan's performance. A serviceable score by Stephen Warbeck and unfussy cinematography contribute to the film's sense of communal endeavour.

One criticism might be that it fits too easily into a well-tried British style of comedy and has little new to offer. Also, American audiences and Sassenachs will be bemused by the strong accents. Fortunately, the visual humour transcends the language barrier.

Reviewed on: 15 Dec 2006
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On A Clear Day packshot
A redundant shipworker from Glasgow dreams of swimming the English Channel.
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Jennie Kermode ***1/2

Director: Gaby Dellal

Writer: Alex Rose

Starring: Peter Mullan, Brenda Blethyn, Sean McGinley, Jamie Sives, Ron Cook, Benedict Wong, Jodhi May, Billy Boyd, Anne Marie Timoney, Shaun Dingwall, Tony Roper

Year: 2005

Runtime: 98 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: UK

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If you like this, try:

The Full Monty
Grow Your Own