3 out of 10
Release date: 9th February 2007 (DVD Premiere)
Director: Sol Papadopoulos
Cast: Andrew Schofield, Lenny Wood, Lisa Parry, Kate Fitzgerald, Lauren Steele, Dave Hart, Laura Hoey, Mick Colligan and James McMartin
Writers: Sophia Barlow, David Catterall, Mick Colligan, Howard Davies, David Dearden, Dave Hart, Ged Hunter, Graham Mullen, Leah Pritchard, Ana Ribiro, Natalie Southern, Toni-Ann Stevenson, Tanya Taylor, Lenny Wood
Trailer: UNDER THE MUD
TO BE PROOFREAD: The producers of Under The Mud teamed up with the young people of Garston, Liverpool to make this community led project. Such a noble quest to give the public at large a chance to exercise their talents – so it’s a shame to report that Under The Mud is little more than a scrappy jape. It’s not a serious film and it pretty much highlights the main differences between what a ‘real’ film is and what an am-dram community effort is. I’m not being disparaging about community projects, just about everybody I know has been involved at some stage and they are fine hobbies. A select few will have the opportunity to push beyond the barriers of the neighbourhood into the industry and these types of projects are were tomorrow’s stars discover and hone their talents. As not everybody can afford to get an endorsed education at RADA or LAMDA, this is the closest many will get. Under the Mud is directed by Sol Papadopoulos who is an estblished Liverpool producer having rescued Terence Davies from obscurity by producing the amazing documentary / love poem Of Time and The City. The man knows quality – so why he’s soft pedalled the need to demonstrate his familiarity with such fare is a mystery. My guess is that he’s given free reign to his actors and his team of about 20 young writers.
Under The Mud tells the story of the Potts family led by the unmarried Dad (ANDREW SCHOFIELD – LIAM) and Mum (LISA PARRY – DEAD MAN’S CARD). There are about five kids (I lost count) and Magic (LENNY WOOD), a orphan taken in by the family. The story is told by Magic about the day of the youngest child Olivia’s Holy Communion. At the evening celebrations, an old family foe One Dig (JAMES McMARTIN – DANCIN’ THRU THE DARK) turns up to settle some old scores after years in jail. It turns out he also owns the social club where the party is being held, Magic loves Paula (LAUREN STEELE) with the invisible friend and a baby to local prick superstar DJ Worm (MICK COLLIGAN), the car obsessed younger son steals One Dig’s car, Mum and Dad break up big time and so on…
Under The Mud is certainly packed with event but it’s the dialogue and some of the unsure performances that let the side down. Some terrible sound (and no subtitles to aid this) also compounded the problem. The story goes for quirky but just comes across as flat. The usual verve and quick witted humour usually associated with Liverpudlian comedies is largely absent. Earlier this year (2013), Spike Island briefly brought back the ghost of Willy Russell and Alan Bleasdale in the exchanges between the Mancs and the Scousers and it was very funny. There’s not a lot to laugh at in Under The Mud as it’s largely cliched and charmless. A handful of the lead actors have been haunting Liverpool film and TV for decades and have been way better in most cases. It’s not the worst film I’ve seen from Merseyside – that could be Dead Man’s Cards (off the top of my head) but it’s nowhere near the best.
3 out of 10 -The intentions were good but this will test the patients of anyone, most of all scousers. Only highly charitable liberals will put the initiative and project ahead of the quality of the actual film. Its a shame the finished product didn’t live up to the hype or the commitment. I wish the makers had thought to be stricter on the quality control when making this tepid re-run of Shameless. It’s got the verve of Bula Quo! and less wit of one of Ken Dodd‘s socks.
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Andrew Schofield: Dead Man’s Cards, Revengers Tragedy, Liam, GBH (TV), Distant Voices Still Lives, Sid and Nancy, No Surrender, Scully (TV)
- Lisa Parry: Dead Man’s Cards
- Kate Fitzgerald: The Bill (TV), Brookside (TV)
- James McMartin: Dead Man’s Cards, Revenger’s Tragedy, My Kingdom, Going Off Big Time, Dancin’ Thru The Dark