HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
That Most Important Thing: Love
Man on the Run
First Love
Countess from Hong Kong, A
Storm Boy
Storm Boy
Frozen II
White Sheik, The
Whalebone Box, The
Hunt, The
Invisible Man, The
Honey Boy
System Crasher
Judy & Punch
Bacurau
Battling Butler
Vivarium
Seven Chances
Dogs Don't Wear Pants
Navigator, The
Knives Out
Hit!
Charlie's Angels
Passport to Shame
Le Mans '66
Keep Fit
Doctor Sleep
Friend or Foe
Brass Target
Mine and the Minotaur, The
Sky Pirates
Syncopation
Sea Children, The
Ghost of a Chance, A
Go Kart Go
Great Buster, The
Seventy Deadly Pills
Wings of Mystery
Treasure at the Mill
VFW
   
 
Newest Articles
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
   
 
  Karaoke Imitating Life
Year: 1996
Director: Renny Rye
Stars: Albert Finney, Richard E. Grant, Hywel Bennett, Roy Hudd, Saffron Burrows, Keeley Hawes, Ian McDiarmid, Simon Donald, Anna Chancellor, Ralph Brown, Alison Steadman, Liz Smith, Fay Ripley, Steven Mackintosh, Neil Stuke, Julie Christie, Ewan McGregor
Genre: Drama, TV SeriesBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: London club owner Arthur "Pig" Mailion (Hywel Bennett) regales his customers with a rendition of "Teenager in Love", a golden oldie that could not be less appropriate. As his employees look on secretly disdaining him, at that moment writer Daniel Feeld (Albert Finney) is enduring a barium enema in hospital to work out what is wrong with his insides; as if that were not uncomfortable enough when he turns to look at the screen showing his guts, he sees the words to "Teenager in Love" appear there, much to his confusion. But this is happening more and more often: he will overhear people in the street relating passages of the dialogue for his latest television series, and wonder if he has some control over their lives...

When Dennis Potter was nearing death, such was his esteem within the television industry that he had made his name in, quite often controversially, that his proposal for a linked pair of series that he wrote to be shown on both the BBC and Channel 4 was accepted by both parties. They were called Karaoke, which was broadcast first on the BBC, and Cold Lazarus, a science fiction work for Channel 4, although each channel showed them both after a fashion. Taking pride of place in the schedule on a Sunday night, they were to be the last works Potter ever produced, as he died of cancer soon after completing them, so audiences were expecting something special, after all they were presented as true event television.

Karaoke was first up, and in typical Potter syle contained elements of autobiography, with Finney essaying a Potter surrogate role as Feeld, who finds out he is dying of cancer before the series ends. The idea that writers should be responsible for their characters, and that having terrible things happen to them should not be taken lightly by their creators, is what weighed heavily on the themes of this as Feeld realises that a woman he has scripted may well be a real person and as he has also come up with a gruesome death for her, then maybe he should have been more careful, more compassionate, about what he has designed as her fate. Saffron Burrows played that role as hostess Sandra, on the face of it about as non-mysterious as they get.

She has a counterpart in Linda (Keeley Hawes), an actress who happens to be taking the role that mirrors Sandra in the television series Feeld has scripted. In these characters we can see Potter's sentimentalising and lust for young women, something that marked his later work and might have you wondering about his motives, especially as Feeld, representing him, turns knight in shining armour to Sandra even if he's growing too infirm to do anything about his passion. Like Potter, by the last episode he is facing the last few weeks of his life, although that doesn't stop him writing or taking more drastic action to ensure he has made his valuable mark on the world. For most, creating successful TV would be enough, but Feeld wants to make a bigger contribution.

In amongst all these gorblimey accents, with Bennett and Burrows really going into Cockney overdrive, you find you have to accept that the people populating the story verge upon, and in some instances crash right into, the realm of the grotesque. Even the "good" characters have their quirks, with Daniel's agent Ben Baglin (Roy Hudd), lumbered with a Spoonerist speech impediment, which gives Potter the chance to put more swearing in the programme but disguised as a joke. Ben has a mother (Liz Smith) who is no less eccentrically drawn, getting her petty revenge on his shouting frustration with her by placing hairs from her armpit in his poached egg on toast. If you can accept that the comedy is too brittle to be funny, then the suspense could be effective for you, although the whole "repeating Daniel's lines" part is explained away by the end, but at least Karaoke is unmistakably the work of Potter, whether you respond to that or not. Seeing a star in just about every role can be distracting, though.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1895 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: