The Riddle (Video 2007) Poster

(2007 Video)

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Hoaxed and a terrible waste of time
hagnor23 September 2007
Well, I got and saw this movie based on the rather high score here (7.1 now), and some of the good reviews. Usually IMDb is a good guide when it comes to score, though in this case I was very much deceived.

The movie is a present-day detective story, with Vinnie Jones as the investigator journalist, who investigates the death of a construction worker. Mixed with this is a made up Dickens' novel (called The Riddle, set in the 18th or 19th century), which also deals with a murder story. Both story lines are connected through the discovery of an unpublished manuscript.

Sounds interesting? It could have been, however this movie horribly fails in a number of areas : 1) Acting. Mediocre at best, but it is watchable. No worse than your average UK sitcom, though for a movie one expects a little better. Especially with a score of over 7. 2) Music. The music used is simply horrible, it distracts and it is annoying. Especially the pub music, and the music which plays in the journalist's apartment. 3) Storyline. This is a big joke. There are gaping plot holes everywhere and even the obligatory love story is so unrealistic that it's almost funny. Furthermore, without going into any detail, I can safely say that the ending is absurd, and one of the worst pieces of acting and storyline of the year. 4) Camera-work. At times camera positions and views are distracting, and serve absolutely no purpose to the "story".

I'm a bit of a movie fanatic, and watch on average 1 to 2 movies a day, but this is easily the worst movie I've seen in months. Don't waste your money or your time on this rubbish.
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alan-35220 September 2007
What more can I add? This is without doubt one of the worst films I've ever seen. Terrible acting, a daft script, tediously slow pace - even visible microphones dangling from the top of the screen. I could go on, but I really can't be bothered. I watched this for 90 minutes before the sense of losing the will to live became too great for me.

I can only assume that the first set of comments and votes were from people associated with the promotion of this insult to British film-making.

And worst still, I had to buy the Mail on Sunday to get it :-) The only reason the DVD hasn't now been redeployed as a coaster is that it now takes pride of place in my Top 10 Worst Films Ever collection.

Definitely one to be avoided.
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Honest, guv, it fell off the back of a lorry
electriconion9926 September 2007
Ever notice how so many really bad films attract so many 10/10 votes? Not much of a Riddle how that happens, but this is not much of a film. There are two ways of looking at it being given away in the Mail On Sunday.

1. It's free, so you can't complain about it to much. 2. It's free, so it can't be much good.

My vote is number 2. The free DVD in the Sunday papers things is a recent trend and some great old movies have been given away. They're ones that have been out for ages and have made most of the money they'll ever make, so it's a case of anything else is a bonus. It's the last stop for old films, not the first for new ones, so you can guess how bad this must be to skip TV and DVD rental.

The plus points are that Vinnie Jones does try hard and Derek Jacobi is good as Dickens. The minus points are a longer list. Trying isn't the same as succeeding for poor Vinnie and Jacobi's other tramp character is talkative ham that's gone off. The story is very weak. The Dickens story does not have anything to do with the film's murders and feels like another movie slapped onto the script to make people think it's a British Dan Brown without the religion. The supporting cast are either there for the money (Vanessa Redgrave must be really hard up) or because they are friends or girlfriends of the filmmakers. It is also very, very long for what it is.

Vinnie taking his priceless Dickens story with him in his jacket pocket everywhere is good for a couple of laughs, but that's it. Not funny and very not good even for free.
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Utterly dire
aguycalledbruce17 September 2007
Words fail me for this appalling waste of two hours of anyone's life. The story is contrived to the point of complete incredibility.

The acting is leaden and so much of this is laughably dreadful. Vinnie Jones - so wonderful in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, is unbearably awful and unbelievable as Mike Sullivan, journalist.

I honestly can't ever remember seeing a worse film. It's only worth watching for the appalling continuity lapses. After Jones is handed a huge beating he emerges without a scratch on him. His girlfriend upends a drink over him and he chases her, emerging from the pub bone dry. It's quite dreadful, made all the worse by the talented actors who appear in it.
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The only Riddle is why on earth did Derek Jacobi appear in it!
davoo-319 September 2007
A pretty awful film, I'm amazed the likes of Derek Jacobi & Vanessa Redgrave agreed to be in it, it's like an overlong episode from a poor TV detective series.

The biggest flaw has to be Vinnie Jones, he simply can't act, whoever had the bright idea of casting him as a leading man wants their head examining unless he put his own money into the project? He should stick to playing thugs, looking menacing & NOT speaking!

Also was central heating around in Dickens times as there were three big radiators behind his desk??

No wonder they gave this away free with a newspaper as no one would pay to see it.
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Nice idea, but
edwardrevans21 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The riddle as a concept is an interesting idea, but i'm afraid is miscast, Vinnie if given the Hard man role is his element as in Lock Stock and Snatch. In this movie Vinnie plays a Newspaper sports writer (greyhounds to be precise),who during the course of the movie is easily is beaten up with ease and bundled over a balcony by a man who 10-15 years his senior. I'm sorry Vinnie is tough looks tough and has so to cast him like this is foolish. Trying to investigate the double murders of a friend and a drug addict found near the Thames. He takes on the role of policeman, whilst the real police are bit part players, interceeding with flashbacks from Charles Dickens.

When Vinnie is on screen his reputation precedes him he looks tough but does'nt in this part need act tough, snarling at the camera in parts. If you watch the Mean Machine, he is perfectly cast, and believable and does a very decent performance.

Getting back to the movie what confuses the matter somewhat is the flashback to Charles Dickens who is narrating a different story with characters who are also appear in present day, these two stories are it appears unrelated apart from the same actors are used.

The sound on the movie especially from Julie Cox is inaudible at times, and not really fleshed out what her role in the movie is short of Vinnies Love interest, she starts the film as a Detecive, but quickly becomes the Girlfriend.

The Death of the Prostitute is sort of answered but yet/not answered . Strip out the Charles Dickens stuff and you may have a decent movie.

Vinnie, is slowly becoming Britans Steven Segal, stick to the supporting actor role, your'e quite good at it.
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Interesting - Jacobi is superb
charlesDonnelly22 September 2007
The Riddle is an enjoyable, tongue-in-cheek thriller that seems to take its inspiration from old radio detectives and noir novels.

It has two separate but intertwined stories, one about a sports writer try to solve the death of a friend and the other about a rediscovered book by Charles Dickens. Jacobi has different roles in both stories.

I was slightly baffled by some of the vitriolic comments until I read one lady who complained that there was 'some old guy' spouting gobbdygook. That would be Sir Derek Jacobi, giving the 'so much blood' speech by Charles Dickens after the death of Nancy.

Speaking personally, one of the world's greatest living actors reading words by the greatest writer of the 19th Century will do me.

One other thought. While I've never been a huge fan of Vinnie Jones, I was impressed by his range in this and his determination to move outside his usual roles. He deserves credit.

One for people who enjoy something quirky and intelligent.
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The real riddle
indioblack11723 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
It doesn't surprise me that the makers of this hopeless movie couldn't find a UK distributor, and then had to release it as a free DVD with a Sunday newspaper. The distributors could clearly see what the film-makers and the Sunday newspaper couldn't, that this was one movie that just wasn't going to recoup its costs.

Since it's a thriller about riddles, it would have helped if they'd picked a lead actor who could enunciate properly, rather than the mumbling Vinnie Jones who appears to pronounce "riddle" as "riell". And it would have helped if the dialogue hadn't been swamped by noisy locations or scenes flooded with distracting and inappropriate music. The plot is ludicrous: The lost Charles Dickens story supposedly helps our hero solve a series of modern murders, but so would a copy of Herge's Adventures Of Tintin, since the link between Dickens and Jones is more non-existent than tenuous. And we have the ridiculous premise that a would-be investigative journalist who lays his hands on a previously undiscovered Dickens manuscript, would take several days to read it, just so that flashbacks to Dickens can continue to be played throughout the movie, as if they had some connection to it. Which they don't. I mean, if you found a new Dickens manuscript, wouldn't you just go somewhere quiet and read it ? The film ends with one of those surprise revelations that have become mandatory since The Sixth Sense, but in this case it doesn't so much surprise you as insult your intelligence. If the film is suddenly going to turn supernatural at the twelfth hour, then revealing that Vinnie Jones is a robot might have been more acceptable. It might not have seemed so turgid if the film had been stylish, but it isn't. And in several places it appears decidedly amateur: There's a scene where a table is laid with a 60's jump-cut technique, but they haven't made sure that the person actually laying the table is completely out of frame between the cuts. Consequently, you can see things changing at the edge of frame, when you're really supposed to be watching things changing at the centre of frame. A good rule in movie-making is: If you don't understand how to do a technique then try something else.

The real riddle is why anyone thought it would be a good idea to make this movie in the first place.
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The original high IMDb rating is very misleading.....
philipdunne-119 September 2007
I could not believe the original rating I found when i looked up this film, 9.5? Unfortunately it looks like I am not alone.

The film, is slow and boring really, one of the sad things is that if the film had been given a realistic rating of around 5 or 6 then the expectation would not have been so high.

Unfortunately, this was not the case, so when watching the film, and seeing the poor story and acting, I am left giving it a 3/10 score.

Vinnie Jones is superb in Lock stock, and also Snatch, and he plays a great hard man, however, he should stick to this role. Its a bit like when Stallone and Schwarzenegger have done comedy films, they just don't work.

Neither can he play lead actor, he plays better as supporting or otherwise. When he plays lead, his acting talents are too 'in view' and shown up as not really very good. Mean Machine is another good example of this.
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Slow Going, and a nice try at clever marketing
rockwellcm-116 September 2007
Its No wonder this was free with the Mail on Sunday, slow going, poor acting, and filming (camera flare, near start of movie, is not even artistic) = Straight to video, but not in this case, why not recoup some of your (Film production costs) by releasing it free with a UK Sunday newspaper, at least this way you get a captive audience, and recover some costs.

I have not given this film a 1 out of 10, due to the effort to pull some old actors out their shell, it was nice to see some old faces (Vanessa Redgrave,this an't no Blow –Up), but Vinnie Jones as a lead, and I think he was better in Gone in 60 seconds when he did not speak.

This Film is dropping in Ratings every day,i think this will find its true mark at the 3-4 out of 10,in the very near Future
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Oh Dear what a mess
marcus538-120 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The only Riddle in this film was how it ever got made. the British film Industry needs to make films people actually want to watch and not look to get Taxpayers money (a'la BBC) to keep Luvvies in their life style they have been accustomed to, with doing nothing for it.

the Film was every thing wrong with British Films it relied on stereotypes, it had to be about a London were people were either Posh and corrupt, Gangsters, Luvvies or gawd blimey jellied eel types, the story script was just pathetically weak, to the extent when the Police man pulled out his phone and the ring tone was the "Sweeney " theme I just expected it. The whole film was a happy shopper sweeney / Minder rip off.

the priceless manuscript I noted got left behind and lost on a few occasions and is something even I with my limited street wiseness wouldn't carry around in my breast pocket every where, to the beach and fights etc Saying that Vinnie Jones is likable which is about the only thing in the film, poor bloke.

When Derek Jacobi walked into the water at the end because he was Dickens, oh my god, what a load of crap, and I am being positive here
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More Like A Sieve
writers_reign18 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Whoever saddled this piece of drek with a title like Riddle deserves some kind of Award; there are dozens of riddles here like who conceived such a dire project, who funded it, who cast it, who persuaded Vanessa Redgrave to share even ONE scene with Vinnie Jones and so on. The most sane voice connected to the whole schmeer belongs to the person who decided - very, very wisely - that this was unreleasable and not even good enough to go straight to video/DVD which throws up yet one more riddle, why - if we rule out serious payola - did the Mail On Sunday get involved and deign to give it away. This has Golden Turkey written all over it and smacks of being shot in two days in somebody's garage and cobbled on to some library footage of London except somehow you KNOW that someone actually DID shoot this on location when it would have been kinder to shoot him/herself. Vinnie Jones and Julie Cox are not even cardboard cutouts more like tissue paper and I swear Pete Doherty and Kate Moss couldn't have done worse whilst Derek Jacobi is a grotesque joke and the plot moves with the speed of the Irish team sliding UP the Cresta Run. Apart from that ...
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What a washout!
stuart-dixon-ebay21 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Come on now. How did all of these talented actors/actresses end up in this mess? Was it some sort of blackmail/lost bet situation? Vinnie, you are a muscle man. Be what you were born to be.

The hot tub scene? The Scrabble scene? I was expecting to hear the "needle dragging over the record" sound at any point.

And what was up with him carrying around the priceless Dickens manuscript with him? Let's see, I'm drunk at a bar, why not pull out the priceless Dickens manuscript? I'm going to meet some questionable thugs down on the edge of the Thames, why not take my priceless Dickens manuscript?


Terrible. Avoid.
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Completely Unbearable
mnkyiunz31 August 2008
As I'm listening to my parents watch this (after I gave up 10 minutes into the film), they have absolutely no idea what is going on. When "Charles Dickens" stared into the camera, I half expected him to turn into a demon (yes, he looked like one). Unfortunately, that didn't happen.

This movie had various reasons I did not finish it: one, it was unbearably slow. I mean, seriously, it was SLOWW. You can only understand 10% of what is said, and the characters were poorly introduced.

If you have an English accent and you like a LOTTT of talking, no action, terrible acting, cheesy laughs, and the same music/sound effects played over and over and over, then this is THE movie for you...

1/10 - completely horrible.

Avoid at all costs.
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A rewarding, entertaining independent film
porfle26 September 2007
I got to see an advance screener of THE RIDDLE before I knew anything about it, so I didn't have any preconceptions going in. As such, it struck me as an intriguing murder mystery that was well-written and well-acted.

Vinnie Jones is one of my favorite actors now--I was already a fan after seeing JOHNNY WAS, and he gives another likable performance in this movie. I think it helps that I never knew him as a sports star and thus had no preconceptions about him. The rest of the cast, including Derek Jacobi, Julie Cox, Vera Day, Mel Smith, and Jason Flemyng, plus Vanessa Redgrave in a small role, are very good.

It's unfortunate that the way THE RIDDLE was released and the fact that it garnered a high score on IMDb early on seems to have elicited such an over-the-top reaction against it. Of course, not everyone is going to like it and some valid criticisms have been expressed, but much of the negativity sounds unreasonably caustic and at times silly.

This is a low-budget independent film by a first-time director, so one can't expect a Hollywood blockbuster. But if you accept the fact that it's low-key and deliberately paced, THE RIDDLE can be a very rewarding and entertaining film.

P.S. Some have pointed out that several of the more positive reviews are from first-timers with no other posting history on IMDb. But if you'll check the most overtly negative reviews, you'll find that, so far anyway, the same can be said for the majority of them as well.
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terrific film-- great fun
irenevass18 May 2007
"The Riddle" is a murder mystery with a historical twist. You get to unravel the riddle just as the actors do-- which is lots of fun! If you like solving puzzles and riddles, you'll love this movie. The intricate plot line is challenging and intriguing. It's witty, original, and intelligent. Derek Jacobi is incredibly compelling and mesmerising in dual roles; Vinnie Jones has a great screen presence and a strong leading-man charisma and physicality; Julie Cox is clever and appealing, and teams very well with Vinnie Jones. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, London itself is one of the stars of this movie. "The Riddle" cleverly showcases London's ongoing struggle to be two entirely different things at once-- a traditional/charming/historical little town and a contemporary/modern/cutting edge city.
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Let me guess...
joachimokeefe18 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILERS FOLLOW - and I haven't even seen it.

Let me guess... the murder is related to the evil property developer wanting to develop the riverside, and Dickens was murdered because he was trying to uncover a similar dastardly plot. If anybody who's seen it could let me know if I'm half right, you'll have saved me the time it might take to watch something worthwhile and the rest of us will know to steer clear of both this film and its enthusiastic reviewers. On the other hand, it *sounds* intriguing; but if it was any good would it *really* be given away with a Sunday rag? And what sort of track record does Foley have anyway?

...So, as a public service, I managed to sit through it. It's worse than 'Swept Away'. Really. I've read stories by eight-year-olds with more drama than this. Truly awful. And I was half right.
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Sorry, but it aimed too high for its own good
siderite21 September 2008
You know Vinnie Jones from playing tough and silent characters that suddenly speak wisdom. While I applaud the attempt to act outside that label, I don't think he did very well in this film. Him and lovely Julie Cox had no chemistry at all. Or maybe I'm just jealous :) Anyway, the script is interesting enough, with a journalist trying to uncover a mystery regarding the death of one of his friends, while in parallel we get a short story/confession written by Dickens himself. Vinnie works so hard not to show up as tough that he gets beaten a few times, forgets dates, gets dumped, is hopelessly goofy and even makes a deal with the obnoxious character.

I will give the start of the movie a decent 7, the rest of the film falling slowly, but surely towards a 6, while the ending was completely bonkers: 5. Result: under 6.5 = 6. And I feel bad about it, because this is not a stupid movie. It just tried to be more than the team could do. Sorry.
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Not as bad as I feared, but still not that great
Redcitykev25 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The fact that this film was distributed free with a certain national newspaper which I do not care for did, to a degree, put me off of watching it, but as I had come across a copy that a local charity shop was giving away for nothing I felt I could watch it with a clear conscience.

The film does have its moments, the evocation of the Thameside location is nicely done, but it does suffer, I feel, from a few too many faults. Firstly, Vinnie Jones is simply not convincing as the journalist. Whilst Vinnie himself is an interesting character, the truth is that he simply does not have the range of acting ability to pull off a role like this.

Secondly, who would carry around with them a lost manuscript that they have been informed is "priceless"? It seemed that everywhere Mr Jones went this manuscript went with him! Thirdly, the whole Dickens aspect of the story, whilst appearing to be important, gets in the way of what could have been an interesting film of corruption in high places. Maybe I'm just a bit thick, but I really could not see the point of the story-within-a-story Dickens style. This added nothing to the film, and only served to confuse matters when things started to become interesting within the modern day story line.

The one bit of praise I will give the film makers is that at least they did attempt something a little different. I am all for British Independent films that try to be 'out of left field', but this is not a 'Red Road' or 'This is England'. What it is is a bit of a mess, and an over-long one at that. Yes, it entertains in part, but in the end it felt like two films merged together to make a whole, and failing both by doing so. (Also, I can not help think that I have seen something similar done recently on TV by Ian Banks, set in Edinburgh with a story concerning Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes).
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Vinnie Jones as romantic lead
Nicole7324 September 2007
This is a small London thriller with a good cast including Vinnie Jones and Julie Cox about a journalist turning detective and a missing Charles Dickens novel.

While I agree with the comments that say some of the plot is confusing, I actually really liked seeing Vinnie Jones in something different. Julie Cox is very good opposite him in quite an understated role, usually getting to the clues one step ahead of Jones.

I wasn't wild on the Victorian scenes, which were a bit stagey, but they might appeal to a Masterpiece Theater crowd more than me.

But Vinnie plays just enough of his usual self to keep it real while moving away from his usual hardman role though I loved him in Lock Stock. I liked that he did not change back to his hardman role at the end, but tries to talk his way out of a tough spot. I would like to see Vinnie Jones given a chance in a really good romantic comedy.
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pure shite
timothy-rampton21 September 2007
ultra cheezy soundtrack. vinnie tries really hard. very tiring script that flashes between past and present. cheap editing... saw the boom twice. don't bother. ultra cheezy soundtrack. vinnie tries really hard. very tiring script that flashes between past and present. cheap editing... saw the boom twice. don't bother. ultra cheezy soundtrack. vinnie tries really hard. very tiring script that flashes between past and present. cheap editing... saw the boom twice. don't bother. ultra cheezy soundtrack. vinnie tries really hard. very tiring script that flashes between past and present. cheap editing... saw the boom twice. don't bother.
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Finding an audience...
jacobw10 October 2007
Let me admit up front: I know the guy who wrote and directed this movie. I like to think I can be objective about it nonetheless, but in an effort to counteract any bias I might feel, I'll try to base this review (and my rating above) on two fairly objective factors.

First, take a look at the cast list: Vanessa Redgrave, Derek Jacobi, and Vinnie Jones. Think about how many movie offers each of them must have at any given moment. You don't get one actor like that (let alone three!) in a low-budget film made by an unknown unless they think there is something special in both the script and the director. Look, there's no reason you should care what I think about this movie--I'm just some anonymous guy on the Internet--but if Vanessa Redgrave, Derek Jacobi, and Vinnie Jones think this film is worth their while, then you should probably pay attention to them.

Second, at a time when the British film industry was in something of a slump, the filmmakers behind "The Riddle" not only made their movie (with an amazing cast), they got it into the hands of 4.5 MILLION PEOPLE. This would be an impressive accomplishment for any film, but for a quirky, ambitious indie movie, it's unprecedented. And as an aspiring independent filmmaker, I find that inspirational.
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Just about as bad as it gets
mikebesant14 October 2007
This movie must have looked when it was being pitched at development stage and getting a Redgrave and a Jacobi on board must have excited the money men. All I can say is that they clearly did not have anything on that week. Jacobi camps it up in the way that only Jacobi can do and I thought that he seemed to more of the actor that he parodied in his cameo role in Frasier a few years back. Vinnie Jones is not exactly bad, he is just clearly out of his depth as a leading man. He is really quite amiable throughout and if this was a pilot for a TV series, it may have just got picked up. However, the scipt and the camera work were appalling. Quite why this "jounalist" and a press officer from the Met would ever work together is never explained. It certainly cannot have been because of the sexual chemistry, of which there is none. There is nothing wrong with a ridiculous and far fetched plot that you can pass off as original, but the whole thing is just so contrived that the two stories just do not make sense at all. It was like two stories confusingly edited in to one just to make up two hours. Go watch some paint dry for a couple of hours. You life will be more fulfilled than watching this rubbish
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keeping up with the Dickens
lee_eisenberg3 December 2008
Somewhat confusing story about a Londoner (Vinnie Jones) who gets involved in a web of intrigue centering on newly discovered Charles Dickens manuals. I spent much of the movie wondering how much of the stuff about Dickens himself was true; I would like to know more about Charles Dickens as a person.

Other than that, the acting kept the movie afloat. Aside from Jones, Derek Jacobi, Julie Cox, Vanessa Redgrave and Jason Flemyng turn in very good performances. It's just that I felt that the movie didn't tell as much about Charles Dickens as I would have wanted to hear. Pretty good otherwise.
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Watched it for Derrick Jacobi
shiloh58au10 June 2008
I didn't know anything about this DVD when I hired it. Had a quick look here at the comments but decided to keep an open mind. Obviously an independent film and low budget but that didn't worry me. I will watch anything with Derick Jacobi and as always he played his part well. What a pity no one else did. I had watched 'Atonement' a few weeks ago with Vanessa Redgrave and she was sublime. In this she seemed to just turn up to read the lines. In my opinion the main mistake was in casting Vinnie Jones. To be honest I saw his picture on the DVD cover but didn't notice that he got top billing. A sticker was strategically placed over his name! It was watchable and I quite liked the Dickens story alongside present day. Maybe with a more capable actor playing the lead this might have worked better. Still it was weak.
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