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Whisky Galore!


Stars: Gregor Fisher, Eddie Izzard, Naomi Battrick, Sean Biggerstaff, Ellie Kendrick, Kevin Guthrie, Fenella Woolgar

Director: Gillies McKinnon

Director MacKinnon is a more than decent filmmaker who has too seldom found the material his talents deserve. But, especially given the given the noisy flop made by the Coen Brothers' version of The Ladykillers, he really should have been more wary of trying to remake an Ealing Studios' comedy classic.

Despite being filmed in Scotland, the lacklustre result is full of bogus Hebridean accents.

Few will be unfamiliar with its story: it's World War Two and the remote island of Todday has just run out of the last of its whisky. One poor islander expires on the spot, mourned only by his faithful dog.

In the post office, Macroon (Fisher) faces marrying off his two daughters (Battrick, Kendrick) without even a dram of the hard stuff at the ceremonies. Then - salvation! A ship runs aground off the coast of Todday: its cargo includes dozens of crates of - whisky!

At first thwarted by the demands of their Sabbath day, the islanders set sail at midnight thereafter, retrieving much of the cargo in the nick of time as the ship sinks. But Home Guard CO Waggett (Izzard) calls in the Customs and Excise men to put a stop to the islanders' drinking spree.

Izzard's strutting performance is by the worst in the film, although he does have some strong competition. To be fair to the floundering actors, the dialogue is stilted and so, sadly, is the direction. Whatever next? Izzard in all eight Alec Guinness roles in a remake of Kind Hearts and Coronets? The mind boggles.

Art least the scenery is prettier in colour than it was in black and white. But nothing here really works, even though the screenplay provides a ripe final cameo for the late Tim Pigott-Smith as an apoplectic army officer in the Colonel Blimp tradition.

David Quinlan

UK 2016. UK Distributor: StudioCanal. Colour (unspecified).
99 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 14 May 2017