Eye For Film >> Movies >> One For The Road (2003) Film Review
I loved this film. Some might say it's TV, not cinema. Wrong! We've got too used to high production values. I can't accept that the size of the screen is a fundamental arbiter of quality. Just look at the edit, angles and power of this work. Digital Video filmmaking has marked out new ground and this production is a brilliant example.
The story is eminently plausible in a world of community service orders and addictive behaviour. The characters are horribly real and plausibly odious. The plot is bang up to date and exposes all the common neuroses of the 21st century male. I'd forgotten that smoky, drink-swilling pubs still existed, idly believing they had been drowned by a flood of refurbished theme joints and converted banks. But no, here one is, as foul as ever!
The characters are really appalling individuals, though they could be you and me. Their bonds, forged by the resentment they feel for the punishment they received for drink driving, are flawed and ignoble. Fags and beer are their bread and butter.
Smart, time-compressing cuts, with long close-ups and severe editing, produce a fast-moving film. The footage is effectively juiced for it's vital ingredients and only the important gestures and mannerisms are included, but, somehow, nothing important is lost.
It has some classic moments and Hywel Bennett, stripping off to swim, is wonderful - it's as if he really was embarrassed about his paunch (I know I would be!).
Overall, it's the synergy of camerawork, editing and actor-led characters that make One For The Road so good. Watch it as a piece of sharp, edgy, quality entertainment - hugely enjoyable.
Writer/director Chris Cooke may have some way to go yet and things to learn about handling bigger budgets, but I'm really looking forward to his next production.Reviewed on: 22 Dec 2004
If you like this, try:In The Company Of Men