Monk Dawson (1998)
3/10
'Mixed' blessings
1 September 2011
I wouldn't normally watch this sort of film. It was on BBC2 recently and I recorded it. I was vaguely intrigued, though. I've a friend who's catholic, though I'm agnostic, so (in my own belief!) I can judge such topics with impartiality. And, that it had a certificate 18 rating - and was British. I wanted to write a review, as so few had already done so.

British films of this era weren't always bad and sometimes, a snapshot looking back brings back memories; good and bad. On the 18 certificate front and with promises of 'forbidden love' I thought maybe a thread (and becoming a monotonous one) of homosexuality and all the juicy factions that would obviously create.

Its narrative changes an awful lot mainly because it needs to, to stop becoming more boring than it is. It is just about watchable, if on a day when one is not at all discerning. Acting is mechanical, as are the sex scenes and the dialogue is laboured and uninspired. Directing is though its worse scourge, not because it is necessarily bad but so cliché ridden and very very average. Though I don't watch those TV film dramas and the adult romantic novels that get TV serialised by the bucket-load, this (to me) must be what they must be like. The backing music is typically MOR ish and ponderous camera shots slowly arcing round smiling people, un-blinking into the sunset are not what I pay my TV license for.

There could be a story in there, somewhere, if written with more depth and properly characterised. There's more in these 108minutes than many TV drama series and unfortunately, it floats off into forgetfulness. However, as other reviewers have cited, it is always good to see once familiar faces on our screens in a different light. Those watching to check out Martin Kemp and Paula Hamilton and others that they might recognise, won't be disappointed but I wouldn't say it was worth wading through all this for them alone.

In conclusion, I would say that what started off as a well-meant and sombre but 'worthy' script got cold feet and tried to be a film for everyone. Understandably (& perhaps rightly) clerics, romantics and mainstream adult audiences looking for sex and violence just do not mix.
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