Thursday, 17 February 2011

Mr. Nice (2010) - Bernard Rose

Utter rubbish. Let's get one thing straight from the get go, I don't like Howard Marks (whose life this film is portraying). Drug smugglers tend to have that effect on me. Usually I have very little time for them, and when they start acting as if they're doing a public service I just end up liking them even less. Howard Marks was a drug smuggler, he wasn't a Robin Hood figure, he wasn't some sort of small time villain that loved his mum and was a bit naughty. He smuggled huge quantities of marijuana into both the States and Britain. He made loads of money, he spent loads of money, he got caught, he went to prison. Hero? Total fucking wanger more like. I really don't like the guy at all. I have nothing against people smoking weed, in fact I'm well up for it being legalized. Marks managed to involve himself with the IRA in order to get gear into England. The sort of person that would hook up with murderers in order to make a quick profit, isn't the sort of person I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt too.

So there you go that's Howard Marks and me in a nutshell. Despite what I wrote above I still went into this film with the hope that it could be something fantastic, or at the very least engaging. After all I don't have much time for that Hitler bloke either, but still thought Downfall was a diamond. Mr. Nice though is tosh from start to finish, Marks himself is treated as an average bloke who saw his chance and took it, and good for him type of thing. A quote early on in the film kind of sums the whole thing up for me;- 'A dealer is someone who buys more dope than he can smoke'. Is he? Not too sure about that one Howard. Even if this film is approached as a slice of fantasy it still doesn't work. Why? Well I'm glad you asked.

For a start the central relationship between Howard and Judy Marks is too flimsy, they smoke a bit of dope, make like the beast with two backs, have a few kids and that's about it. You'd think there would be drama gold to be mined there, after all Judy is played by Chloë Sevigny, one of the better actresses out there. Not that you'd guess that from this performance, her accent was impossible to place. I'm presuming it was supposed to British and since I'm fond of her I'll leave it at that. Rhys Ifans was actually pretty good in such a thankless role, I think he did quite well acting under a series of wigs that looked like leftovers from a Shane Meadows short. Little bit of trivia for you while we're talking about Ifans, he was once the singer with Super Furry Animals, who used Marks' image on the front of their debut album. Small world, eh? See I'm not just here to moan about films you know.

Bernard Rose has had a go at doing a bit of a Forrest Gump on a shoestring type thing, by placing Ifans in seventies London, shooting him against a backdrop of archive footage. It's a tricky thing to do well, and Rose just doesn't have the chops to manage it, it looks embarrassing and obviously doesn't work. The film starts in black and white, and only once Howard discovers the joy of marijuana does the film become colour. Tacky doesn't even begin to cover it. For some reason Marks' time inside is hardly touched upon, which is a shame since this was one of the few areas in his book that really showed just how tragic his life had become. Other things that were awful? Well how about Saleem Makik's jacket staying exactly the same despite the fact that the film has moved on several years? What happened to Jim McCann (Thewlis)? Last we saw of him he was there surrounded by armed police, then somehow he let's off a smoke bomb, and then? Well your guess is as good as mine. Shoddy things like this pepper the film, which is a shame since it could have been so much better. Worse than all of this though is how can Crispin Glover and David Thewlis be in a film together and have it end up being so bloody crappy? Steer clear and watch the far superior Blow instead.

1 comment:

Pernilla said...

Couldn't agree more. Utter shite.

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