If you read any kind of critic regularly, you can pick up their patterns and in a way begin to guess what they'll give things, and I knew before seeing this movie it was going to get a pass from British critics, particularly those of reported culture, such as The Independent or The Guardian. I have a theory as to why this happens, because there are so few mainstream release British films that when one comes along that tries do something new, triumph or no, they sing its praises. Like the proverbial Charlie and his one chocolate bar a year, they tend to hold on to it, savor it and elevate it to higher status then it deserves. Sometimes with films like Shaun Of The Dead this is OK, because it deserves it, but in other cases, say Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels or East Is East, blowing things out of proportion is just unfair to the film.
I'll concede to the fact that this is on a lesser scale, but for me Tamara Drewe misses more then it hits and some conceptual originality and some literary allegory doesn't make up for that. Its main problem or the one that left me the coldest to what it was trying to do, which in its defense, is something fairly new, was that it was one of those films where everybody finds a certain character fascinating, beguiling and altogether enchanting and it just doesn't make sense. I think Tamara was supposed to be one of those beautiful, brilliant yet flawed enigmas, but while Gemma Arterton can certainly pull of beautiful, I'm about ready to call time on her being a genuinely talented actress.
She's been in four films this year, and she's been terrible in two of them and outshined in the other two. Can't really blame the girl for the banality of Prince Of Persia and Clash Of The Titans, but I think that between this and The Disappearance Of Alice Creed, she was out to prove she could actually act. The problem is she's not really that great in this, I could list four or five actors with lesser parts that make a stronger impression in the film, and all I came out of Alice Creed thinking was that Eddie Marsan is awesome. I'm sure she'll come out with something in 2011 to prove me wrong, but as of this moment I'm on the waiting to be impressed side of things. I think of the performances in this film, Jessica Barden as a stifled to the point of insanity teenager, came off the best, in a performance that's both funny and a little unnerving when it had to be. Tamsin Greig and Bill Camp turn in reliable supporting performances and Dominic Cooper is some fun as the most stereotypical rock musician since last Tuesday. I don't like Roger Allam. He's always hammy and irritating and that doesn't change here. No time for this guy.
To be fair the film had a bit more about it then I was expecting after its god-awful, hideous trailer. Its intelligent, quite stylish in places and is very British. Which some people have used as a compliment and others a criticism, and to be frank I lean toward the latter camp. Its not a bad movie by any means, but its not as good as it thinks it is, nor as satirically valuable.