Plots with a View


Plots with a View is a caper movie and a farce combined, reveals a depth I never knew Brenda Blethyn possessed, but comes up a little short nonetheless.

I have never liked farce as a genre, but I love caper movies – my favourite of recent times the much-underrated Shooting Fish, which starred the “nearly Aragorn” Stuart Townsend, and Kate Beckinsale before she became a bloodsucking dominatrix. It is the caper portion of this movie that appeals to me, but the farce left me cold.

For a start, Alfred Molina isn’t quite up to slapstick, and is never entirely convincing as the ringleader of this jaunt. Blethyn on the other hand is excellent – she really is an amazingly talented actor. Her performance shows her understanding of the passions and prejudices of middle-aged British women, and she seems to be having so much fun! Molina only ever seems uncomfortable.

Naomi Watts is an odd choice for the secretary-whore role, and she also seems to struggle somwehat, never quite burying herself as she has in other recent films. She is extremely attractive in a red teddy, many people are, but not all of them are as great at acting as Watts can be.

There are moments when one is transported into the uncomfortable shoes of Blethyn, and these are when this film is at its strongest. I found it near impossible to empathise with Molina, Walken and the other male leads, and thus their catastrophies and triumphs are difficult to relate to. I guess I often feel this way when watching farce, but it is a weakness irrespective.

For its moments of humour and fun, I did enjoy this, and the caper-ish elements I loved. I have never enjoyed watching excruciating failures pile one on top of the other, and for this reason I couldn’t love Plots with a View.

Rating: 2.5 stars
Review by Mark Lavercombe, 26th September 2004
Hoopla Factor: 2.5 stars

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