Some meaty themes and complex performances add badly needed weight to this somewhat simplistic British comedy-drama. So even if it feels a bit awkward and draggy, there's life in the characters that makes it surprisingly engaging. And the somewhat corny approach is so gentle and nice that we can't help but smile.
It's set in the wake of the economic crash, as Greek entrepreneur Harry (Stephen Dillane) finds himself in trouble after expanding his food empire into property development. A single dad, he relies on nanny Mrs Parrington (Cadell) to help care for his three kids: law student James (Frank Dillane) would rather be a gardener, 18-year-old Katie (Groome) only thinks about shopping and boys, and youngest son Theo (Underhill) thinks he's already a tycoon. So when administrators (Stoppard and Shaw) arrive to enforce some downsizing, it's a big shock. And for Harry, it becomes unbearable when his estranged black-sheep brother Spiros (Corraface) refuses to sell the family's defunct fish and chips cafe and insists that they re-open it together.
Yes, this is one of those plucky little films where, once the premise gets everything lined up, we know exactly where it's heading. Fortunately, Dillane's Harry has a sharp-edged cynicism that combines intriguingly with his desperation, so we root for him to swallow his pride and stop behaving like an idiot just long enough to learn the obvious important lesson. And the events play out in a nicely low-key way that never quite tips over into farce. Yes, it's all a tug-of-war between "sensible" Harry and "crazy" Spiros who represent ruthless modern-day business practices and old-world community values.
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Among a submissive and addictive world where businessmen control the minds of consumers, Misha comes to his senses after being one of those overcome with greed and the desire to make money. He starts to see the world for what it really is; dominated by invisible and monstrous forces that encourage dependency and literally alter the DNA make-up of human beings. Misha sets out on a journey to end the conspiracy and reveal the truth to the world, but the power behind it are determined not to let it happen and set out to dispose of the man who threatens their branded world.
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Set amidst the ruins of another infamous ghetto -- Warsaw's Jewish district -- The Pianist recounts the horrors that Polanski could not face a decade ago. The movie tells the true story of pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman's escape from Nazi persecution and his subsequent struggle to survive. Unlike other mainstream Holocaust movies, though, this one doesn't try to portray heroism and selflessness as much as it does the actual process of surviving. In other words, it is about the constant act of searching -- for food, for water, for a new place to hide, and for a way out.
Continue reading: The Pianist Review
An emotionally and factually detailed, uniquely personal true story of day-by-day Holocaust survival, "The Pianist" is a labor of passion on the part of director Roman Polanski (who as a child escaped German-occupied Cracow), a monument to those who persevered through the Nazi onslaught and a memorial to those who could not.
It's the story of Wladyslaw Szpilman, a composer and musician who played -- throughout a German a bombing run -- the last live music heard on the radio in Warsaw as the city was invaded in 1939. It's the story of how he felt hope because Britain and France entered the war, even as his family was one of thousands forced into a small, walled-and-razor-wired ghetto in 1940.
It's the story of how he eluded deportation to concentration camps in 1942 by hiding in the ghetto as it was emptied by German soldiers, how he became a laborer while the Nazi's had use for slaves, and how he escaped and bore witness from a distance to the month-long Warsaw uprising while starving and wracked with guilt in a series of empty apartments where he was concealed by sympathizers throughout the war.
Continue reading: The Pianist Review