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Jul 19, 2006

Abduction of The Girl


Somewhere in my dissertation reading about narrative, I found a piece about Ridley Scott's film Alien, in which the writer found herself with the problem of having to talk about the film as an ensemble piece when her brain was retrospectively rewriting the text in hindsight with Ripley as the lead character.  Effectively she was saying that even people new to the film with the weight of film history would not be able to watch it in the same way as an audience member when the film first came out.

I had much the same problem watching The Abduction Club because despite editing and plotting that favours the characters played by Alice Evans and Daniel Lapaine I spent much of the film mesmerised by The Girl In The Fireplace's Sophia Myles (and to a lesser extent following Matthew Rhys who has arguably become almost as recognisable in the intervening years).   So whilst the Evans and Lapaine are giving perfectly good performances, part of my brain is wondering what the real lead actors are doing.  Actually to be fair, Myles does steal most of her scenes and is as good as we've seen her since but again I'm not sure if that's just my brain retrospectively paying attention to what she was doing at the expense of everyone else.

The film is a perfectly good, fun romp in the style of Plunkett & Macleane without the smugness and appearance from anyone from Little Britain.  The Abduction Club are a band of young men who kidnap possible wives and then try to convince them to marry overnight.  On this occasion it all goes horribly wrong and the abductors, Lapaine and Rhys end up dashing for the countryside with the abductees Evans and Myles.

It's actually somewhat how I'd imagine a pure historical would be like in the new series. 

There's a pleasing straightness to the whole thing -- it just wants to be an adventure film, nothing more, bit of romance, bit of buckleswash, some traitory and tragedy.  It's actually somewhat how I'd imagine a pure historical would be like in the new series.  The landscapes are gorgeous too.  It is predictable but I think it's reveling in cliches like the hassling of the peasants when the outlaws are on the run and the nailing up of the wanted poster. 

If there are issues, it's that the editing sometimes gets in the way of the performances and timing and the geography of the countryside isn't all that well laid out considering its importance to the story.  Plus there's a moment at the end were a character seems to appear from the clear air in the middle of a scene (again probably because of the editing).

After spending a day watching the twisty-turny non-ploting of Robert Altman's Short Cuts it was refreshing to see something with a proper beginning middle and end with Myles again demonstrating why she'll be the UK's next big thing.  I think.  Incidentally, the director, Stefan Schwartz once played the Knight Commander in Battlefield.  Everyone in the entertainment world is probably connected with everyone else through Doctor Who.


Abduction Club sounds just like a transplanted Seven Brides for Seven Brothers...

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