To Collinwood - Dir: Anthony & Joe Russo - Cert: 15
'Welcome to Collinwood' is a comedy crime-caper with a great ensemble
cast, and uses structure and style to pay homage to many of the early
black and white pieces such as the Keystone Kops, Charlie Chaplin and
Harold Lloyd. From the black & white title card at the start of the
film to the poster of the film, a specific genre is evoked and despite
this yester-year nod the movie manages to not feel dated by its chosen
form of comedy.
Collinwood is also from the production company that is set up by Steven
Soderburgh and George Clooney. Clooney himself appears in the film as
a wheelchair bound safe breaker.
A small group of inept criminals including William H. Macy, Sam Rockwell
and Isaiah Washington have a simple job that would pay out $300,000 and
lift each of them from their squalid failed - criminal existences, but
such is their incompetence that they manage to jeopardise this without
even the severe threat of a hostile force.
The gags are amusing and farcical and manage to appear funny without being
contrived. There are a few short-comings of the film though, most notably
its brief length (86 mins), lack of resolution for the characters and
perhaps not enough detail and time given to all the characters. Even though
they are inept criminals, hence their position, you feel that there needs
to be some change and / or development in their characters otherwise the
film just becomes a snapshot of a static group of lives. The Jennifer
Esposito character, Carmela, seems to insinuate more than what is evident
but a climatic scene with her never materialises, similarly Basil (Andrew
Davoli) disappears towards the end of the ‘job’ and suffers
a similar lack of resolution.
Perhaps the brevity of the film is due, in part to the financial restraints
of the meagre $12m budget invested in the project. This might seem a lot
but the average Hollywood film now costs around $60m. I hope that 'Welcome
to Collinwood' makes its money back because Hollywood becomes more formulaic
and blander each year and this set of film-makers, both Directors and
Production company should be given a broader canvas to work on.
My criticisms should not be seen as too severe a complaint though as the
film is very entertaining and well-made with care, flair and a sense of
cinematic history. Given its short length 'Welcome to Collinwood' does
evoke the desire of a repeat viewing. 7/10