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  Skeletons Memory Men
Year: 2010
Director: Nick Whitfield
Stars: Ed Gaughan, Andrew Buckley, Tuppence Middleton, Paprika Steen, Jason Isaacs, Josef Whitfield, Keith Lancaster, Will Adamsdale, Paul Dallison
Genre: WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Davis (Ed Gaughan) and Bennett (Andrew Buckley) are walking across the countryside discussing Rasputin, who Davis thinks is a far more significant historical figure than his associate does. Conversations like this help to pass the time as they visit their assignments, acting to rid their clients of the skeletons in their closets, as today when they attend the home of a couple planning to get married. They get the pair to fill out the requisite forms then venture up to the bedroom where they take readings; the wardrobe is the source of the problem and so they open it up and get to work...

Skeletons was an odd, very British, take on the buddy movie for the most part, with Davis and Bennett our guides through the world of memory and how holding on to them is opposed to looking to the future and the possibilities that may be in store. Of course, for much of the time it's hard to fathom precisely what it is about, as writer and director Nick Whitfield was giving very little away, with the audience plunged straight into this weird world and left to fend for themselves as far as the plot went. It was one of those curious efforts that seemed to have made perfect sense in the mind of its creator, but stumbled in putting it across to the viewer.

Billed as a comedy, there was precious little to laugh at as a morose tone settled over the characters, not surprising when the two main characters are exposing secrets to their clients that they might be better off leaving be. Bennett feels more sympathetic to those undergoing the procedure than Davis does, but their boss (Jason Isaacs), who occasionally shows up for reasons best known to himself, urges them not to get involved too closely, particularly as he's grooming the duo for greater things in the business. Alas, this proves to be easier said than done when the next client happens to be someone alone, and not part of a couple.

She is Jane (Paprika Steen), a single mother who lives in a country cottage with her 21-year-old daughter and preteen son. The daughter, Rebecca (Tuppence Middleton), has refused to speak for a good many years, and comes across as less than accomodating to the guests, who find they have to stay longer when the job is more complicated than they anticipated. The problem for them is that Jane wants to find the location of her missing husband, gone nearly a decade, and thinks the skeleton crew will solve her problems. Bennett is happy to help, but Davis is angered by this turn of events, especially as it means less time for him spent on his own with his own memories.

To Davis, the ability to drop in and out of these regressions is like a drug, and he is an addict. Whitfield appears to have something on his mind about the seductive qualities of nostalgia, but that doesn't really marry up to the business about getting the past indiscrections out in the open; it's not as if the film is pulling in two directions, but it's not exactly smoothly rendered either. All the way through this dejection, strangely brought out in the retro, rural look of the film, grinds you down, with nary a proper joke to be seen leaving it ploughing its own furrow which you will be happy to accompany them on or not. Most people will probably be turned off after about half an hour of this too self-contained little world, if they get that far, and if they persevere they might not yet be satisfied. On the other hand, those searching for something different will certainly get it here, even if it doesn't quite reach the potential of its strong ideas. Music by Simon Whitfield.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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