BEAUTIFUL CREATURES(director: Bill Eagles; screenwriter: Simon Donald; cinematographer: James Welland; editor: Jon Gregory; music: Murray Gold; cast: Susan Lynch (Dorothy), Rachel Weisz (Petula), Iain Glen (Tony), Tom Mannion (Brian), Maurice Roeves (Ronnie), Alex Norton (George Hepburn); Runtime: 89; producers: Alan Wand/Simon DonaldUniversal International; 2000-UK)
“A black comedy triggered with snide Guy Ritchie type of lowbrow British humor that is not as clever as it thinks it is.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A black comedy triggered with snide Guy Ritchie type of lowbrow British humor that is not as clever as it thinks it is. Bill Eagles, in his debut as a director, was out to lunch on this one. Beautiful Creatures is one ugly feminist oriented film. It has the four main men characters as cartoonish brutal pigs who violate women and use them as sex objects, while the two buddy women are ditzy but supposedly innocent heroines with plenty of body bruises from the men. The violence and farce do not go hand in hand.
It’s set in modern Glasgow, and opens with the Irish lassie Dorothy (Susan Lynch) attacked by her drug addict brute of a boyfriend Tony (Iain Glen) as he searches for his golf clubs which she took from him to pawn. As a result Dorothy decides to flee to London with her beloved dog Pluto, who the brute painted half pink and strung up from the ceiling. While waiting for a bus with Pluto, she comes across the attractive Petula (Rachel Weisz) being beaten by her brutish boyfriend Brian (Tom Mannion). She intervenes and accidentally kills Brian by whacking him with an iron pipe. They take him to the sexy bleached blonde Petula’s pad, where he dies in the bathtub and Pluto chomps off his ring finger.
The girls then get to be pals and scheme a ransom plot to get a million quid from Brian’s older stone-faced brother Ronnie (Maurice Roeves) — her boss at the firm.
Investigating this crime is someone who might be the most unbelievable and despicable of the four men heavies, the lecherous Detective Inspector George Hepburn (Alex Norton). He deduces from a ring finger sent that Brian is already dead and plots to get the ransom money himself, as he ups the ransom by doubling the figure. As a coincidence, the corrupt detective is a golfing buddy of Brian’.
Complications to the scheme arise when Tony returns to the apartment he shared with Dorothy to get his golf clubs and when he discovers Brian’s body he wants in on the ransom scheme. He forces Dorothy to shoot heroin with him, shoots Pluto’s ear off, and threatens to fuck Petula before he gets stabbed and conked in the head by the girls.
The disgusting plot continues with the insane George delivering the ransom money to the drop site; but the obnoxious Ronnie follows him, as he says: “No one fucks with Ronnie McMinn.”
There are a few plot twists as is to be expected in this type of genre, but none of it works because the execution is so poorly done. The film does an insulting job on how it treats abusive women, failing to draw a sharp edge about this serious subject. The women tried to get into the fun spirit of this comedy spoof, but there was no room left for the viewer to be anything but repulsed. It’s just another mindless caper film, but it’s probably worse than the others because it thinks it’s being hip.
REVIEWED ON 12/22/2001 GRADE: D
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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