Late Night Shopping



UK 2001 : Saul Metzstein : 91 mins

The most depressing thing about the instantly forgettable, but relatively harmless Late Night Shopping is the way director Metzstein and writer Jack Lothian have been hailed in some quarters as promising new talents in British cinema. LNS is like Doug Liman’s Go with all the air let out, following a quartet of night workers who meet regularly in a city caf to trade anecdotes, pedantic trivia, urban myths and tales of their own romantic mishaps. At the halfway stage the four hit the road to an unspecified coastal resort, where they find another caf and trade anecdotes, pedantic trivia, etc.

Presumably the lame, shallow dialogue is deliberate because that’s how young people talk these days. Perhaps, but what might make for a passable 20-minute TV short has its limitations cruelly exposed when tortuously stretched to feature length. If Metzstein wants to make a calling card to advertise his skills, that’s fine – charging the public to watch it in cinemas, isn’t.

In an opportunistic bit of casting, German star Heike Makatsch has a supporting role, presumably to guarantee some Euro sales and thus cover the minuscule budget. But as with the film’s other prominent female – Kate Ashfield’s Jody – Makatsch is stuck in an insultingly underwritten part. She still manages to outshine her Anglo co-stars, of course: James Lance provides what energy the picture has as womaniser Vince, and while it’s not much of a performance, at least he’s making an effort. Unfortunately for all concerned, the lead character in this mini-ensemble, Sean, is “played” by talentless Luke De Woolfson, all bad Richard Ashcroft hair and heroin-chic pallor, and pretty much a dead hole in the middle of the screen.

24th June, 2001
by Neil Young
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