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Movie reviews: I’m Your Man, Beasts Clawing at Straws, People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan


Dan Stevens and Maren Eggert in 'I'm Your Man'

Dan Stevens and Maren Eggert in 'I'm Your Man'

Dan Stevens and Maren Eggert in 'I'm Your Man'

I’m Your Man

Cert 15A; IFI & selected cinemas now

4 stars

It’s hard enough to speak another language, to act in one must be quite the challenge. But it’s a challenge that English actor Dan Stevens absolutely aces in this German gem.

Maria Schrader, who directed Netflix’s Unorthodox, returns with a feature film she co-wrote. A mix of The Stepford Wives, Ex Machina and traditional rom-coms might not sound too promising, but this is a sweet, funny, clever film.

In return for research funding, academic Alma (Maren Eggert) agrees to take part in an experiment. For three weeks she will live with an android who has been specifically tailored as a life partner for her. Tom (Stevens) is a charming dreamboat but Alma cannot get past the fact that he is not human.

The film inevitably plays with ideas about love. It dances between who and what we want in a life partner, and why, and many of the answers will be personal to the audience. The film makes you think but has a light touch and lots of humour. Stevens is just fantastic and Eggert is the perfect counterpoint, in a role that cannot have been easy to pitch. Don’t let the subtitles put you off, this is lovely stuff.

Beasts Clawing at Straws

Cert 15; Curzon Home Cinema now

3 stars

The crime caper movie can be a style-over-substance event. With so much emphasis on the crime and the caper, the character development is often neglected.

This is true of Korean director Kim Yong-hoon’s debut feature. There is a lot happening to people into whom we have no real insight. However, that feels deliberate; these characters are the beasts of the title after all, and the movie is an entertaining, Tarantino-esque ride in Korean.

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The story is told over six chap,ters. In the first, entitled Debt. we are introduced to a bag of money, and to the four characters who need this money. The two women (Jeon Do-yeon, Shin Hyun-bin) and two men (Jung Woo-sun, Bae Seong-wu) each have different reasons for wanting the loot and different attitudes to getting their hands on it.

There is a local crime boss with a silent tattooed hitman and lots of murder, of the dark humour variety. Kim Yong-hoon is a fan of the Coen brothers as well as Tarantino. Youn Yuh-jung, who won the best actress Oscar for Minari, also appears briefly. The action speeds up in the second half, delivering a few surprises along the way. Although it is a bit daft, you need to pay attention — and it’s good fun.

People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan

Cert 15A; in cinemas now

2 stars

Turning a TV series into a movie is an unpredictable business. This is especially true for comedy because what works well for half an hour can wear thin over 90 minutes. It’s like chocolate, it’s wonderful for a treat, but it doesn’t work as a dinner.

Award-winning UK comedy People Just Do Nothing is a case in point. The series, about the Kurupt crew of unknowingly talentless garage musicians, is good niche-market humour. They are all a bit dim, very self-important and strangely sympathetic.

The film sees a Kurupt single becoming Big in Japan. “Manager” Chabuddy G (Asim Chaudry), rappers MC Grindah (Allan Mustafa) and DJ Beats (Hugo Chegwin) and the rest of the team head to Tokyo to embrace glory. Naturally things do not work out as expected.

The essence of the series does translate to the big screen and fans of the TV show will enjoy the movie. However, the plot is so flimsy as to be almost invisible. What the film hangs on, then, is how much you enjoy the humour and for how long. I liked the humour, and the characters, but, for me, the show works better on TV.

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