Whisky Galore!

"OK"

Whisky Galore! Review


Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult to understand why. Loosely based on a true story, it's a lively romp set on the edge of Europe during World War II. But after nearly 70 years the material called for a much fresher approach than this rather dull farce. At least the cast is likeable, even if they can't inject much spark into the story.

It's set on the island of Todday, off the west coast of Scotland, where the locals are horrified that their rationed quantity of whisky has run dry. Annoyed that they now have only tea to drink, they get on with their lives. Postmaster Macroon (Gregor Fisher) is preoccupied with the romances his two daughters are carrying on: Catriona (Elle Kendrick) is in love with skittish schoolteacher George (Kevin Guthrie), while Peggy (Naomi Battrick) has just reunited with her returned soldier boyfriend Odd (Sean Biggerstaff). Then a ship runs aground off the shore, and word has it that its cargo hold contains a massive whisky shipment. So the villagers devise a plan to sneak around local military officer Wagget (Eddie Izzard) to salvage the hooch.

All of this plays out as a rather tepid adventure, never cranking up any suspense at all as Wagget is easily outwitted by everyone else on the island. The dual romances play out without even a whiff of lusty zing or dramatic tension. And there's also a political thriller thread involving a stash of important documents, which the script sidelines completely. Instead we get more of the whisky-chugging local minister (James Cosmo) who participates in the hijinks but forbids heist activities on the sabbath. Director MacKinnon stages everything in slapstick style, accompanied by a ludicrously insistent comedy score by Patrick Doyle. But it's never very funny.

That said, the film's undemanding approach is somewhat enjoyable, as is the raw beauty of the location. The actors are all watchable, even if the lack of depth or interest leaves them all feeling rather harmless. Izzard does the most work in the hammiest role, charging around haplessly and being nasty for no reason at all. There's certainly potential in this premise and these characters, but the script needed to be fully reimagined to draw out present-day relevance and some tension in both the comedy and drama. Without any of that, the movie feels merely smiley and fluffy. Sweet but pointless.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 80 mins

In Theaters: Friday 12th May 2017

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Ealing Studios, General Film Distributors

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Gillies MacKinnon

Producer: Iain Maclean, Alan J. Wands

Starring: Basil Radford as Captain Paul Waggett, Catherine Lacey as Mrs. Waggett, Bruce Seton as Sergeant Odd, as Peggy Macroon, Wylie Watson as Joseph Macroon, Gabrielle Blunt as Catriona Macroon, as George Campbell, Jean Cadell as Mrs. Campbell, as Dr. Maclaren, Morland Graham as The Biffer, as Sammy MacCodrun, James Woodburn as Roderick MacRurie, Jame Anderson as Old Hector, Jameson Clark as Constable Macrae, Duncan Macrae as Angus MacCormac, Mary MacNeil as Mrs. MacCormac, Norman Macowan as Captain MacPhee, Alastair Hunter as Captain MacKechnie, as Mr. Farquharson, Frank Webster as First Mate, Compton MacKenzie as Captain Buncher

Contactmusic


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