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
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?”
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 Island, Mercenaries, Coronation St (TV)