Saturday, 2 October 2010

REVIEW: Made In Dagenham

I feel kind of mean to angrily rant at a movie that is OK, but needs to be said.

There's a certain kind of British cinema goer that leaves me livid. Well in fairness there are many, but many words have been said about kids who talk and text all through films, parents who bring 3 year old toddlers into screenings of No Country For Old Men and assholes who laugh like the atom bomb and altogether show no respect for the cinema environment (Its my temple.) No, these guys get theirs. The people I'm about to rag on are polite, respectful and admirable members of society. But because of them, six of the ten large scale British film release every year follow the Made In Dagenham model. Biopic first and foremost, semi hot button topic second and pseudo-realism third. I want to be clear that these aren't bad movies, but just, so thoroughly uninspiring. Is anyone going to fall in love with films like this? Is some 15 year old kid going to see Made In Dagenham and go that's what I want to do with the rest of my life?

Its because of that viewer, that pragmatic entity that believes that cinema should be always and forever a glossier version of a BBC4 documentary, inform before excite and have a heavy hand placed in reality, because fiction in and of itself? Well that would just be a waste of time. And sadly these are the people that write for the daily telegraph, for the Guardian and such. Its an attitude that seems to promote a condescension toward creativity and it means that the majority of British cinematic output panders, gets polite, tepidly complementary reviews and then disappears from every body's consciousness in a heartbeat. Made In Dagenham is one of these films to the bone, and while I can't say it was bad, its well acted and quite well put together, Sally Hawkins is as good as ever in the lead role, and there's some good supporting performances from Richard Schiff, Rosamund Pike and Miranda Richardson, and it isn't fair to say that this film is alone the problem, its one of many, but that grounded, pathologically modest British mentality of fact being worth more then fiction, even in the arena of movies, I'm just tired of it. I've seen this kind of film so many times, and so few of them make a lasting impact. I don't object to this kind of film being made, but it shouldn't be made more then any other genre of film. It shouldn't be considered worthier and better simply because its based in reality and well, my enthusiasm is waning.

Made In Dagenham will be an enjoyable experience for those who believe that film should be above all things educational and the biopic represents your movie of choice, and there's a lot of you and you have no real reason to feel bad about that. But if there's even a spark of imagination in you go and see Buried, fuck go and see Takers, because while they may be worse movies, they allow cinema to be more then a walking, talking wikipedia entry. I look forward to the Bafta nominations.

Rating: 6/10

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