FLUTTER

4.5 out of 10

Release Date: 3rd August 2015 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Giles Borg

Cast: Joe Anderson, Anna Anissimova, Laura Fraser, Ricky Tomlinson, Anton Lesser, Max Brown and Mark Williams with Luke Evans and Billy Zane

Writer: Stephen Leslie

Trailer: FLUTTER

Review by Matt Usher below…

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Joe Anderson: Hannibal (TV), Hercules (2014), Horns, Twilight – Breaking Dawn 2, The Grey, The Crazies, The Ruins, Across The Universe, Control, Becoming Jane
  • Anna Anissimova: The Whistleblower
  • Laura Fraser: Castles In The Sky, Cuckoo, Breaking Bad (TV), The Boys Are Back, Nina’s Heavenly Delights, The Flying Scotsman, 16 Years of Alcohol, A Knight’s Tale, Kevin & Perry Go Large, Titus, What Ever Happened To Harold Smith?, The Match, Virtual Sexuality, Divorcing Jack, The Tribe, Cousin Bette, The Man In The Iron Mask (1998), Neverwhere (TV), Small Faces
  • Ricky Tomlinson: Mike Bassett – England Manager 2, Gloves Off, Northern Soul, The Royle Family (TV), Nativity!, Mike Bassett – Manager (TV), Once Upon a Time In The Midlands, Playing The Field (TV), Formula 51, Mike Bassett – England Manager, Nasty Neighbours, Mojo, Preaching To The Perverted, Cracker (TV), Bob’s Weekend, Butterfly Kiss, Raining Stones, Riff Raff, Brookside (TV)
  • Anton Lesser: Endeavour (TV), Game of Thrones (TV), Wolf Hall (TV), The Lady, Primeval (TV), Casualty 1909 (TV), Miss Potter, River Queen, Charlotte Gray, The Mill On The Floss (TV)
  • Max Brown: Spooks (TV), The Tudors (TV), Grange Hill (TV)
  • Mark Williams: Golden Years, Father Brown (TV), Albert Nobbs, Harry Potter parts 1 – 8, Stardust, A Cock and Bull Story, Agent Cody Banks 2, High Heels and Low Lifes, The Fast Show (TV), Whatever to Happened To Harold Smith?, Shakespeare In Love, The Borrowers, 101 Dalmatians, The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer (TV), Alexei Sayle’s Stuff (TV), Red Dwarf (TV)
  • Luke Evans: High-Rise, The Hobbit- Battle of the Five Armies, Dracula Untold, The Desolation Of Smaug, Ashes, No One Lives, Fast And Furious 6, The Raven, Immortals, The Three Musketeers (2011), Blitz, Tamara Drewe, Clash Of The Titans (2010), Sex & Drugs & Rock-n-Roll
  • Billy Zane: Zoolander 2, Mercenaries, Elecktrick Children, The Scorpion King 3, The Roommate, Silver City, Zoolander, The Believer, Titanic, This World The Fireworks The Next, Head Above Water, The Phantom, Demon Knight, Only You, Tombstone, Poetic Justice, Posse, Lake Consequence, Sniper, Sniper 4, Orlando, Twin Peaks (TV), Memphis Belle, Megaville, Back The The Future 2, Dead Calm, Critters
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One thought on “FLUTTER

  1. REVIEW BY MATT USHER

    Why does dog racing inspire such odd films? OK, I’m basing that proposition on only two examples, but if you’ve had the pleasure of avoiding SIX BEND TRAP you’ll have missed a dwarf-racing amateur musical with Children’s Film Foundation-style plotting and acting, and drag queens.

    And here’s FLUTTER which on the one hand is about a luckless gambler gambling badly, and on the other hand is a bizarre, cack-handed attempt at a surrealistic film noir (I think).

    Our hero, John, ably played by a likeable though possibly too young Joe Anderson, is introduced to us by our hero himself. Yes, it’s yet another low budget crime caper film with a voice-over. But this one’s quite good, not least because our narrator is a bit of a fibber. He introduces himself as a scientific and methodical gambler. There is of course no such thing. We meet his pals, including THE HOBBIT’s very own Bard the Bowman Luke Evans. These three young men spend their time at the dogs, but they’re an enterprising trio and are willing to lose money in the pursuit of any bet.

    They visit Stan, a trackside bookie. But Stan has been replaced! Gone is bloke-Stan and in his place there’s a mysterious young blonde American woman, who, even more mysteriously, has decided to keep the name. Note that name, and its similarity to a slightly more devilish name. Note also that ‘Stan’ has none of the awe of ‘Satan’. Our heroes react as if this sort of thing happens all the time. But Stan is no ordinary bookie. She exerts a strange hold over John and leads him on a dangerous path, one which begins with seemingly innocuous private bets, but which takes on an increasingly sinister tinge, before finally turning into a twisted game of obsession, self-destruction and murder, which has mortal implications for John and his family (his wife, you will not be surprised to learn, is with child), and so a chasm of doom envelops our hero, from which he emerges quite easily in the end.

    Plot-wise this sounds like a 1990s erotic thriller. Probably. But it’s British, and there are certain things Britain can’t do. Instead of attempting smouldering intensity between our two leads, instead of trying to metaphorically entangle their bodies with their gambling obsession, the film instead gives us some increasingly weird situations. Where the Americans might have attempted some steamy bathroom seduction scene, FLUTTER gives us Anton Lesser defecating in public. Where the Americans would have inserted an intense scene of erotic tension, the hero desperately straining to do the right thing but falling for evil feminine wiles, FLUTTER gives us Mark Williams sitting in a giant bird’s nest.

    Much of FLUTTER’s failure as a film noir is due to the miscasting of the femme fatale (and also the overcasting of the hero’s wife). Anna Anissimova plays Stan, and she’s hopeless. She’s meant to be a devious, seductive hell-queen who crushes grown men for breakfast. Unfortunately Anissimova (a) doesn’t look old enough to be allowed near a race track, (b) looks more like a child dressing up as her mum, and (c) delivers every line with a monotonously sardonic sneer which is probably meant to be attractive but sounds like she’s bored, which (d) makes her even worse because this is the sort of role an actress should clearly enjoy playing. There’s no chemistry between her and Anderson, so at no point does the viewer wonder whether he’ll throw it all away because of her. Which is a problem as it’s the film’s main question. Besides, no-one who has the good fortune to be married to (the ridiculously under-rated) Laura Fraser (as our hero is here) would be tempted for a second, which makes much of the film nonsensical. Even the director seems to realise this as Fraser (who’s clearly decided that although the script may require the wife to be boring/weedy/conventional there’s no way she’s playing it like that) ends up being the only character who actually does anything decisive.

    Then again, the director seems to fling in anything willy-nilly: at one point a whole family seem to be wearing flat caps and berets, which makes them look like the Flumps; there’s a comedy ostrich; a man in an unflattering dress; another man dressed as a rabbit. This is a film where one’s credibility-barometer needs to be recalibrated: John’s first bet is to stay in the bathroom for a week. So he tells his wife he’s ill. WHAT WIFE WOULD ALLOW HER HUSBAND TO SPEND A WEEK IN A BATHROOM? All these odd details prevent the film from being predictable but they don’t hide the fact that it’s all pretty conventional really.

    I wonder if the film involved a more supernatural element at some point during its development. Stan has a knack for making things happen and the film’s atmosphere sometimes suggests that all is not as it seems. By the end Stan is even demanding possession of souls, but ultimately the film’s materialist approach renders that void.

    Joe Anderson makes an appealing loser, and his friendship with Luke Evans and Max Brown is nicely done. Evans and Brown give good best mate performances, and suggest that they’ve got their own stories going on offscreen. Billy Zane turns up as a dentist, and gives the impression he’s trying to remember his lines, and I’m not sure his dentistry is all that great either. Ricky Tomlinson plays a variation on his best known character.

    FLUTTER is being sold as a standard thriller (Luke Evans misleadingly holds a gun on the DVD cover) but that’s precisely what it isn’t. I get the impression it should have been a weirder, darker, more Lynchian film, but the cut that has emerged is a kind of very oddball almost screwball comedy-thriller with just a hint of (actual) devilry. It’s certainly worth a look (and it’s short) but I don’t think it’s anything like what was intended. Maybe the director lost a bet with someone?

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