Anyone inclined to bemoan the shocking behaviour of young people would be advised to take a look at 44 Inch Chest, which features some spectacularly foul mouthed and habitually violent behaviour from a group of men well beyond any flush of youth. This debut feature by Malcolm Venville from a script by Sexy Beast writers Louis Mellis and David Scinto is a powerful drama of a wronged husband trying to regain his self-respect. Colin (Ray Winstone) is devastated when his wife announces she’s leaving him for a younger man, and when we first meet him he is sprawled drunkenly amidst the wreckage of their final argument, as Nilsson’s ‘Without You’ loops in the background. This virtuoso opening really sets the tone for what follows, aggressive and maudlin by turns. Colin’s motley crew of old friends (John Hurt, Ian McShane, Tom Wilkinson, Stephen Dillane) rally to his aid, though their plot to kidnap the lover and push Colin into taking revenge is misguided in conception and inept in execution. A provocative and darkly funny study of masculinity at its most troubling, 44 Inch Chest gives the actors full rein to explore the male ego pushed to its limits, and this wonderful ensemble certainly rise to the task. —bfi
A bit of a mind-fuck, if you will. Shakespearean. I watched it three times, still trying to understand if I love/hate it. This is set in the same fictional universe of Sexy Beast. Keep an eye on Malcom Venville. This young director will go far. Easy does it, mate. You're alright. Innit?