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Review: 44 Inch Chest

Suffocated by chewy, self-congratulatory dialogue
By GERALD PEARY  |  February 2, 2010
2.5 2.5 Stars

It feels like a British play turned uncomfortably into cinema, this mannered narrative, most of it confined to a single set, where the actors, impersonating London lowlifes, speak in the most stylized, Pinteresque way. But no, directed by first-timer Malcolm Venville, 44 Inch Chest is an original work for the screen from Louis Mellis and David Scinto, who did the far more effective script for Sexy Beast.

Here, the crazed and angry Colin (Ray Winstone) gets his pals (John Hurt, Tom Wilkinson, and Ian McShane) to snatch the French waiter (Melvil Poupaud) who's slept with Colin's wife (Joanne Whalley). What to do with the kidnapped cuckolder?

The talented actors have great fun with the chewy, clever, self-congratulatory dialogue, but it's less enjoyable for the audience, which gets suffocated by the talk, talk, talk.

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