WAYLAND’S SONG

2 out of 10

Release Date: 20th September 2013 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Richard Jobson (New Town Killers / The Purifiers / 16 Years of Alcohol)

Cast: Michael Nardone, Orla Brady, Hannah Lederer-Alton, Alan McKenna, Simone Lahbib and Rob James Collier

Writer: Richard Jobson

Trailer: WAYLAND’S SONG

Waylands-Song-script-212x300

Wayland’s Song comes across like Taken on ketamine. So heavy footed and slow is this so-called thriller most viewers will find it hard  to reach the end in one sitting.  Some of you may even be reaching for a gun to put to your head.  This is the first film to be made and set in Bedford, it’s a strange choice of location and evokes comparison to the similarly themed  Salisbury-set Ray Winstone plodder Fathers Of Girls, both of which see a father looking for a lost daughter.  Both films trawl the unlikely dark side of small town England too – Bedford comes across like a wanna-be Mos Eisley in this film. The main difference is that the protagonist of Wayland’s Song is a British soldier on leave from active service in Iraq. He slowly goes about questioning various ‘faces’ in the town and frankly gets nowhere and achieves nothing except boring us all into an early bedtime. Wayland has one line – or it seems that way – which he repeats in his Scots monotone – “WHERE IS SHEEEE?”

waylands song

Director Richard Jobson‘s previous films showed no sign of his ineptitude to make an effective movie like this. 16 Years Of Alcohol and New Town Killers were competent and well constructed films. So nothing prepared me for the poor show that is Wayland’s Song. Nothing clicks, fuses or even shows signs of life. Lead actor Michael Nardone (MERCENARIES) is OK, he just has very little to say or do. The supporting cast are mostly uninterested, barely summoning up enough lustre to fight for the cold scraps of plot that float to the top. Rob James-Collier (DOWNTON ABBEY) appears as a Liam Gallagher sound-alike artist who may be holding back info about Wayland’s daughter. SPOILER: Flashbacks to Iraq invade the narrative and hint at some Jacob’s Ladder like conceit that Wayland may be an avenging angel who’s true body is going cold in a morgue in the middle-east. Striking visuals like a man on fire, are conjured up repeatedly but end up adding nothing but confusion and unintentional hypnotism.  Orla Brady (JO) helps and hinders our hero but as the underworld in Bedford is so small our ‘hero’ keeps on returning to the same conclusion and places but only really gets to act on his hunches near the end. Fathers of Girls was as ponderous, yet it had zero violence and no guns but still the same number of thrills and spills. It’s just a weird little film that fails in every department it should impress in.

As a revenge thriller it’s too sleepy and slow, the script is too ordinary and a lot of the acting is borderline indifferent to terrible. Only residents of Bedford need apply and that will just be to check off familiar locations or maybe to spot themselves as an extra. A simple premise is botched by an experienced film director who’s behaving like a student first timer. The ending is just baffling and confirms early suspicions that this film is going nowhere fast. For a decent revenge thriller see the Danny Dyer vehicle Vendetta instead.

2 out of 10 – Inoffensive potion for a beautiful night’s sleep. This is the anti-thriller. It’s a mystery how this got made in the way it did, the place it did, with the cast it has and the script that was written for it. Should have been abandoned at the first draft stage.

PS: There are no combat scenes or helicopters or gunfights in this movie – see DVD box.

REVIEW BY JOE PESCI II aka Bedfordshire hardest, below?

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Michael Nardone: Whisky Galore (2017), The Night Manager (TV), Child 44, Intruders,  Mercenaries
  • Orla Brady: Banished (TV), Dr Who (TV), Jo (TV), Sinbad (TV), The Luzhin Defence
  • Alan McKenna: The Hitman’s Bodyguard, ABCs of Death 2, Pressure, Doctors (TV)
  • Simone Lahbib: Philomena, Wire In The Blood (TV), Monarch of The Glen (TV), Bad Girls (TV)
  • Rob James-Collier: The Ritual, A Christmas Star, Downton Abbey (TV), Spike IslandMercenaries, Coronation St (TV)
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One thought on “WAYLAND’S SONG

  1. WAYLAND’S SONG by Matt Usher aka Joe Pesci II

    Please note: I give away everything in this review. If you are foolish or naïve enough to want to watch WAYLAND’S SONG, please do so before reading any further. You have been warned.

    Let’s start with the front cover of the DVD, which promises an action film with helicopters and tanks and guns and explosions and soldiers and mayhem. This is extremely inaccurate; we do have one bloke in a soldier’s uniform who ducks when hearing a loud bang, but that’s about it. The back cover of the DVD has some moody photos of the cast looking moody. This is more accurate. (However, the blurb has not been checked, so it claims that Wayland has been in the ‘killing fields of Helmand Provence’; since when was Helmand in France?)

    But who is this Wayland? And what is his song? Well, the title is a bit inaccurate as well, because Wayland doesn’t break into song at all. He doesn’t even listen to the radio. However, given the granitic nature of Michael Nardone’s eponymous performance, the absence of the titular sing-song is probably something of a blessing.

    Wayland, it turns out, is a soldier back from the war, and in a land he no longer recognises (Bedford apparently). Fortunately, absolutely everyone recognises him, even people just sitting in a bar. ‘Ah, you are Wayland, Wayland of the song. I have a message for you. But I shall not tell you it. Yet.’ That sort of thing. (Sadly not those exact words, but that’s pretty much the tenor of the entire script.) But Wayland isn’t back to chat with old pals…

    Wayland may have left the war (or has he? What about all the poorly staged flashbacks?) but he faces the biggest mission of his life. His daughter has gone missing, and he’s back to find her. In order to do this he moves around very slowly, threatening to beat people up. For reasons never entirely clear he teams up with Hannah Lederer Alton, who I think was the daughter’s flatmate, but has she an ulterior motive? And why does she throw herself at him? Meanwhile Wayland’s ex-wife played by Simone Lahbib has hit the bottle and gone bonkers, but still manages to throw herself at him. Meanwhile there’s an artist with a dodgy Mancunian accent running around, who knows something, and a dodgy policeman who talks in cryptic riddles. Does he know something? And here’s Orla Brady as yet another member of the cast who knows Wayland, and promptly throws herself at him (Wayland, being an impervious man on a mission, fends off all this unwanted female attention with little more than a determined shrug). Brady runs a bar called Tony’s. Who’s Tony? asks Wayland. A sleeping partner, explains Brady. Hmmmm, the cryptic policeman’s name begins with an A – could it be? Sadly Wayland never works out this clue despite it being so obvious even Shaggy would have made the connection. Fortunately after the daughter’s friend has got killed, Wayland spots a discarded packet of sweets. THE VERY SAME SWEETS THAT THE CRYPTIC COPPER EATS! Could it be he? And does this mean the conspiracy effectively entwines the whole of the cast of the film? And is Wayland walking into a trap and a boring fight with some bald estras from TEN DEAD MEN? Yes. It all turns out to be something to do with prostitution or drugs or corruption or something like that, and yes, (SPOILER AHEAD!) his daughter was indeed killed by the cryptic copper and the conspirators.

    WAYLAND’S SONG wants to be deep and serious. It wants to be a meditation on what it is that makes us who we are, what we hold dear, and how easily it slips through our fingers. It wants to be a film about regret, about the mistakes we make, and our clumsy attempts to put things right, and about the moral degradation that our country has fallen into. Alas, it comes across as a ham-fisted revenge fantasy with precious little in the way of revenge or fantasy (and no helicopters and no singing). The plot is basic, the characters thinner than paper. Despite the occasional flashy bit (like the incredible final shot which makes one wonder what might have been) the film looks like a student project (not in a good way). Michael Nardone’s performance as Wayland veers between impassive and blank to sleepwalking and drear and then back again. The rest of the cast do what they have to do perfectly adequately but cannot breathe life into a project which has all the tension of a repeat of Inspector Morse (one that you’ve seen half a dozen times). Weirdly, WAYLAND’S SONG doesn’t even succeed in being worthy. It just comes across as vaguely well-meaning, tortuously tedious, slightly pretentious and terribly empty.

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