Neil Fox’s film reviews: Welcome To The Punch

Welcome To The Punch
Welcome To The Punch

There are always mixed feelings when young British film-makers embark on their second feature film.

There’s the pride and happiness that they got another go, but then there’s the pang of apprehension when you see the trailer and marketing and think ‘oh no, they’ve gone off the rails already’.

Eran Creevy’s micro-budget debut Shifty was a refreshing and gripping tale of a young man returning home to a dark, buried secret.

It was free from many of the clichés that befell higher profile films of a similar ilk, thanks to some sharp writing and great performances.

His follow-up couldn’t be further, on the surface, from that low budget feel.

However, there are themes emerging. Mark Strong’s absconded gangster returns to London on a mission of vengeance that will bring him into the orbit of James McAvoy’s cop who is still bitter over letting his prey get away.

It’s a decent attempt to blend Brit grit and HK sensibilities and like Shifty it has ambitions to rise above standard genre fare.

If it doesn’t always work, there’s more than enough to like and enjoy, and the future looks bright indeed.

The Incredible Burt

Wonderstone

What a strange film this is. Narratively all over the shop, it’s still mesmerising, thanks to a trio of ego-less, fearless performances of stupidity and vanity by three brilliant performers.

Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi’s long-standing magician double act is under threat from looking archaic thanks to the advances in illusion by the enigmatic Steve Gray (Jim Carrey).

This causes them to risk everything – credibility and lives – in pursuit of being relevant and revered.

At points it’s hilarious, and at other points plain strange, but always watchable and with the potential to be a cult classic.