UK Critics Consensus: Indifference For Defiance, Whilst Slumdog Millionaire Shines

Plus, UK Scribes Enjoy Both Role Models & Sex Drive

by | January 9, 2009 | Comments

A trip to the cinema is a sure-fire way to beat the January blues, but which film should you be shelling out to see? Vying for your pennies this weekend we have Daniel Craig in non-Bond mode for the WWII epic Defiance. Already a big festival hit, Danny Boyle‘s Slumdog Millionaire finally hits the UK cinemas, as do two US comedies in the Apatow-vein, Role Models and Sex Drive. So what did the British critics have to say?

Defiance tells the incredible true story of the Bielski brothers, a trio of Jewish resistance fighters in Belarus, who saved thousands of lives through their actions in WWII. Directed by Edward Zwick and starring Daniel Craig, Jamie Bell and Liev Schreiber, Defiance is an all-action epic with an amazing true story at it’s heart, but it has split the critics. Currently standing at 52% on the Tomatometer, most critics were wowed by the previously rarely heard story, but felt the production was let down by clichéd narrative, drab cinematography and an all-round muddled approach to the central story. Xan Brooks of The Guardian summed up the general consensus:

Defiance makes a noise but leaves no echo. It feels progressively more bogus and less significant the further it recedes from view, and myths are meant to wax in the memory, not wane.”

Danny Boyle has been a stalwart of British cinema since breaking onto the scene first with Shallow Grave, then the critically acclaimed Trainspotting. Always defying convention, Boyle has tried his hand at many genres, and has now turned his eye to Bollywood, with his Mumbai-set Slumdog Millionaire. With no Rotten ratings compiled from the UK reviews, Slumdog proudly stands at a very healthy, and Certified Fresh, 94% on the Tomatometer. There was universal praise for its uplifting tone, inspirational fairytale story, and stunning use of location and setting. Rob Daniel, Sky Movies, said about the film:

“Hard hearts may balk at the unashamed sentiment, black and white morality, and question-flashback contrivances, but let them eat pie and mash: this is a tangy banquet of smile-on-the-face feel good.”

Role Models and Sex Drive hit the UK cinemas this week both boasting impressive current US-comedy pedigree. Role Models stars Paul Rudd, Seann William-Scott and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (AKA McLovin of Superbad fame) in a comedy about two thirty-something slackers on community service, whilst Sex Drive features Clark Duke, James Marsden and Seth Green in a teen coming-of-age road movie. Role Models is currently faring better on the Tomatometer at a Certified Fresh 76%, whilst Sex Drive is lagging behind at 42% overall, but both films tallied a similar number of fresh ratings with the UK critics, so if a laugh-out-loud comedy is what you are looking for this weekend, you are spoilt for choice. Nigel Andrews of The Financial Times said of the two films:

“Neither film wins a prize for visual style. Each deserves one for clever gags and zanily zig-zagging dialogue.”

Quote Of The Week

“This unfunny studio comedy is so downright demeaning I ended up hating not only it but my entire gender — and most specifically myself for secretly quite wanting to watch it.”

Bride Wars

Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, Metro.

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