Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Actors (2003) Film Review
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
At last! A British comedy that lives up to the hype.
Hey, wait a minute. It's Irish, for starters. And what hype? The poster gives no indication that this is anything more than Michael Caine's next picture, with the other fella (Dylan Moran) whose been on telly a bit.
Written and directed by the deceptively young and prodigiously talented Conor McPherson, based on a story by Neil Jordan, who has never been known for his sense of humour (High Spirits and We're No Angels are famous for not cracking a smile), The Actors rediscovers what Ealing Studios was so good at, the comic crime flick.
Tony O'Malley (Caine) has been treading the boards since Brendan Behan was sick over an actress on the first night of The Quare Fellow. Now, he's appearing as Richard III in a small Dublin theatre where the audience might be described as "a smattering" and the production as "accident prone". He's having to move out of his house, because he can't pay the rent, and the only person who is nice enough to listen to him is a spear carrier, called Tom (Moran)
Tony has been frequenting what he considers a lowlife bar in the villainous part of town and made contact with a master criminal by the name of Barreller (Michael Gambon), who has told him a thing or two, especially about a certain party being owed a sum of money by another certain party whom he has never met.
Tony's plan is to persuade Tom to impersonate the first certain party in order to relieve the second certain party of the afore mentioned dosh. The only problem is, will Tom go along with such a hair brained scheme and is he a good enough actor to pull it off?
What follows is a tour-de-force for Moran and an inspirational comic performance from Caine. Gambon is possibly too shambolically unmade - as in bed - to be a convincing underworld habitue and Lena Headey too beautiful to be hanging around dad's nefarious haunts.
Such niggles are but pin pricks on the bum of brilliance. Forget the winter of our discontent, The Actors heralds a summer of unconditional delight.Reviewed on: 15 May 2003