"Down Terrace" Blu-ray, DVD Movie Review

1/22/2011 Posted by Admin

"Down Terrace"

Blu-ray, DVD Movie Review

Written by Ben Wheatley and Robin Hill, directed by Wheatley, 93 minutes, rated R.

By our guest blogger, Joel Crabtree

“Down Terrace,” the new film from Ben Wheatley, is a British crime movie in that it only begins to take the form of its genre in a bloody third act.

Bill (Robert Hill), a lifelong criminal whose illegal exploits have earned him a modest house, few luxuries and even fewer true friends, returns home to his wife and 34-year-old son (still living at home) after being released from prison. One thing weighs heavy on Bill's mind: Finding which of his acquaintances put him behind bars.

His son, Karl (Robin Hill), who also just got out of jail, has a lot on his mind. His girlfriend is pregnant and his peers and parents cast doubt on whether the baby is actually his. With the pressure of becoming a father, and an interest in moving away from the family business, Karl is angling for more independence.

The film is slowly paced, methodically building its core characters for an unexpectedly tense climax focused on Bill and Karl's distrust. To the untrained eye, “Down Terrace” might seem as though it suffers from an identity crisis, blurring the line between comedy and family-crime drama, when in fact, it's more in-tune with the American Mumblecore movement, establishing honesty in its characters and story rather than playing into expectations.

The movie consists mostly of tight close-ups and drawn-out scenes of dialogue, and sometimes feels improvised in how naturally the shots come together.

Still, “Down Terrace” is at its best when it's funny. It plays out like a smart BBC comedy during those moments, with wit, timing and uproarious black humor. It's Bill's melancholy drinking songs, which come in the form of jam sessions that break up the movie, that keep the viewer grounded as the sadness of the family's situation unfolds.

In so many ways, “Down Terrace” is a refreshing turn for its genre, presenting criminals without glorifying them. They have flaws and they're 100 percent believable. Still, there's a turning point in the movie where it begins to take itself far too seriously, leaving you yearning for the movie that could have been, where the filmmakers have just a little more fun with the characters.

Grade: C+

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