44 Inch Chest

January 3rd, 2010


44 Inch Chest

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Still of John Hurt in 44 Inch ChestStill of Ray Winstone in 44 Inch ChestStill of Stephen Dillane in 44 Inch Chest44 Inch ChestStill of Joanne Whalley in 44 Inch ChestStill of Ray Winstone in 44 Inch Chest

A jealous husband and his friends plot the kidnapping of his wife's lover with the intention of restoring his wounded ego.

Release Year: 2009

Rating: 5.8/10 (3,330 voted)

Critic's Score: 47/100

Director: Malcolm Venville

Stars: Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, John Hurt

Colin is in agony, shattered by his wife's infidelity. However, he has friends who do more than stand by -- they kidnap the wife's French lover and hold him prisoner so that Colin can restore his manhood with revenge. A kangaroo court takes place and as the situation escalates Loverboy's life hangs in the balance as Colin wrestles with revenge, remorse, grief and self pity, all the while egged on by his motley crew of friends who just want him to get on with it so they can get down the pub.

Writers: Louis Mellis, David Scinto

Ray Winstone - Colin Diamond
Ian McShane - Meredith
John Hurt - Old Man Peanut
Tom Wilkinson - Archie
Stephen Dillane - Mal
Joanne Whalley - Liz Diamond
Melvil Poupaud - Loverboy
Steven Berkoff - Tippi Gordon
Edna Doré - Archie's Mum
Andy de la Tour - Biggy Walpole
Derek Lea - Bumface
Ramon Christian - Boy on Sofa


Official Website: Official site |

Release Date: 3 Jan 2010

Filming Locations: Elstree Studios, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, England, UK

Opening Weekend: £152,171 (UK) (17 January 2010) (75 Screens)

Gross: £152,171 (UK) (17 January 2010)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The word 'fuck' is used 162 times.

Tippi: [cutting huge lines of cocaine] I like a line the size of a Tobleroné.

User Review

A Pinteresque exploration, beautifully written, acted and directed

Rating: 8/10

While agreeing with the first reviewer that the plot could be summarised in the two words "nothing happens", very much the same thing could be said of "Waiting for Godot" and half the plays of Pinter. Indeed the style of dialogue is very reminiscent of Pinter, with the five main characters each portraying an archetypical personality type.

The main point of the film is that the five characters are operating in a moral vacuum, and having to make their own decisions without influence from the law of the land or any other moral compass.

It would seem that the Law is simply non existent in their world - they kidnap into a van in broad daylight in front of many witnesses without disguising the number plate, and they finally let their victim go having inflicted on him an ordeal which would earn them each a long prison sentence with only the slightest word from John Hurt's character that they don't want to hear any more about it.

No, the whole point is that they, like the characters in Lord of the Flies, have to work it out for themselves.

And this freedom allows them the range to each demonstrate their character with the finest of English acting. Some of their characters are rather hackneyed, like Tom Wilkinson's who moves seamlessly from discussing with his mother about her favourite TV show into being a heartless thug, in a manner reminiscent of the second scene of Pulp Fiction, but the John Hurt character is beautifully drawn, by script writer, actor and director alike.

John Hurt plays an elderly man who clearly fancied himself as a ruthless thug in his younger days, and defines himself by his association with a psychopath gang leader. He is now treated with amused but slightly wary contempt by his friends, but is still determined to show his teeth by egging the Ray Winstone character into terrible and sadistic acts of revenge. The irony is that, in one of Winstone's psychotic daydreams, when given the opportunity to offer violence himself, his dentures fall out and he backs off, showing him for the toothless windbag he is.

The other major archetype is a louche gambler and homosexual predator played beautifully by Ian McShane. In a scene reminiscent of "The Dice Man" he agrees that life and death decisions are too hard for an individual to take, and accordingly persuades Ray Winstone that the decision between flaying alive and release should be taken on the toss of a coin.

The two main protagonists of the film are Ray Winstone, whose drink, shock and schizophrenia induced ramblings form the backbone of the script and Melvil Poupaud who never says a word and barely moves a muscle throughout the film. However, among a group of psychopaths, it is he, playing the kidnapped French waiter, who is the only one that the audience can relate to, and it is a tribute to Director Malcolm Venville that we know exactly what is going through his mind, despite his almost complete lack of expression.

This is a film about the struggle between revenge, blood lust and evil on the one hand and justice, decency and humanity on the other. It is about a man working through a psychosis and returning to rational thought. It is about how people can reach their own moral selves without influence from Church, Law or Society.

It is far from an action film, and if you want simple plot this is not the film for you, but it is a beautifully crafted set piece delivered by a very fine set of actors, performing a fine script and under subtle but powerful direction.


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