Love, Honour and Obey Movie Review
Ray (Ray Winstone, Nil By Mouth and The War Zone) is the boss of the south London mob. Jude (Jude Law, The Talented Mr. Ripley and eXistenZ) is his obedient nephew, and Jonny (Jonny Lee Miller, Afterglow and Trainspotting) is Jude's buddy who wants a piece of the action. Once Jude gets Jonny invited to take part in the proceedings, he gets a little big for his britches, causing trouble with the north London blokes.
As each of the main characters first names match their real life names, and as the directing team also wrote and produced it with small cameos for themselves, this is more of a film to be enjoyed than critiqued. Nobody is trying to create grand cinema. Love, Honour and Obey feels more like a home video that some kids cooked up in their backyard, with a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants handheld camera.
While video seeks to chronicle a family's life, it is also used to reflect and even laugh at the past. There are several sections that laugh at the standard mob movie. Ray doesn't want to fight north London, he wants to be friends and doesn't feel the urge to take over the whole shebang, unique for the genre. There's even a scene in which his group is having a shootout with the other side from behind parked cars and the situation is abated when Ray breaks into uncontrollable laughter.
Of course, because the story does involve men with violent tendencies, there are scenes to make you squirm. One poor fat schlub is forced to walk around on a leash in his boxers while he is fed LSD and dog food. Another literally rips the jugular out of his captor with his teeth. However, these scenes are never too long, and neither are the characters' attention spans.
It's as if this film were meant to rub out the layers of what it's like to be part of a "family" imposed by its predecessors. Each member of the group is almost normal, with wife and kids and homes in suburbia. Ray is about to get married to a soap opera star, and Jude and Jonny are constantly striving to prove themselves.
Love, Honour and Obey also makes use of simple humorous details. Before one heist, each member of Ray's group passes around Viagra to try out its effects. One of them brags about pleasing his woman for four hours, so they all jump on the wagon. This would normally lead to cheesiness, but gets a laugh in the end. While they are pulling off their stunt, each has a boner, and their victim ends up more scared of being raped than losing his precious diamonds.
Despite the notoriety of the stars, this film has barely been marketed and most have never heard of it. The production team has worked together on other projects, but are apparently more interested in playing with their equipment than building acclaim. The fact that Love, Honour and Obey is not trying to be anything stunning but instead becomes two hours of mindless entertainment is practically a salute to being creative.
Aka Love, Honor & Obey.
To have and to hold.