When a movie opens with the song Can’t Live Without You and then zooms in on a man sprawled out on the floor, dead…unconscious…we’re not sure… and the room in which he lies is in complete disarray after what appears to have been a battle royal, you know something is up and that this isn’t just any old movie. Part drama, part comedy, 44 Inch Chest features the best male soliloquies since Shakespeare. Ok. I’m exaggerating slightly, but only slightly. Written by Louis Mellis and David Scinto (Sexy Beast) and directed by Malcolm Venville, the film centers around Colin, fabulously played by Ray Winstone (who seems to be in every other movie in the 2009-10 year) and his group of thuggish friends, angry Old Man Peanut (John Hurt), proudly gay Meredith (Ian McShane), mama’s boy Archie (Tom Wilkinson) and loser Mal (Stephen Dillane). Dumped by his wife, Liz (Joanne Whalley), after 21 years of marriage, Colin reaches out to this ragtag bunch for assistance in taking revenge and saving face. 44 Inch Chest features very little action, but you don’t even realize it until the credits roll. That’s because the performance of every actor is sheer perfection. Each one is given his chance to shine and boy, do they ever.
3 nuggets out of 4