44 INCH CHEST // Ever seen a grown man cry? How about a grown man that looks like he works for the mob? Heartbreak and emotion is not what you associate with big rough neck, jack-jawed British sluggers. Yet 44 Inch Chest delivers just that.
Big man Ray Winstone plays Colin Diamond, a car salesman, that finds out his wife Liz (Joanna Whalley) is cheating on him with some guy he nicknames “Loverboy” (Melvil Poupaud). With help from his friends Meredith (Ian McShane), Old Man Peanut (John Hurt), Archie (Tom Wilkinson), and Mal (Stephen Dilane), Colin must decide what comes next after locking “Loverboy” in the wardrobe with a bag over his head. Though the setting stays put in one room for most of the film, the actors that fill that room make the film the success that it is.
The film carries a rough and tough humor, where the subtly derives from the deep and meaningful sentiments that these hard-hitters express along with the fast talking, innuendo ridden slang that only the British can deliver. The dialogue per each character is worth reviewing the film alone.
The true stars of the film are Ray Winstone (Beowulf & The Departed), Tom Wilkinson (Rock-N-Rolla & Michael Clayton), and Ian McShane (Hot Rod & Deadwood), whose stage presence truly fills the film with grandeur. The range Winstone displays as the lead character dominates each scene. Just one look into the man’s giant dough eyes and you cannot help but emphasize with him.
44 Inch Chest is no ordinary gangster flick. The film has heart, more than you can shake a ham-sized fist at. Toss in perfect comedic subtly and a hint of metaphysics/psycho-psychology and the film falls right into line with other great British film-making.
[Directed by Malcolm Venville] [R] [95 min] [15 January 2010]