Complete A-Z list

Three and Out


Stars: Mackenzie Crook, Colm Meaney, Imelda Staunton, Gemma Arterton

Director: Jonathan Gershfield

Is this a comedy? It would seem so but, after a comparatively bright, if surreal start, it goes seriously (literally) off the rails. Talking of rails, that's where wannabe writer Paul (the extraordinary-looking Crook) drives tube trains while pondering on the Great Novel.

Then disaster strikes - twice. A man's dog, keen to catch railway mice, drags him under Paul's train. A week later, another passenger has a heart attack on the station, and falls under - Paul's train. Paul's workmates excitedly remind him of the rule that, if a third person goes under the same driver's train inside a month, it's instant retirement with 10 years' money.

True or false? Whichever, Paul buys in and starts looking for potential suicide victims, eventually latching on to grubby Irishman Tommy (Meaney) who's about to throw himself off a bridge. Tommy agrees to a 'deal': Paul will give him a hefty sum in return for 'arranging' his suicide.

Before he knows it, Paul has also been enlisted by Tommy in helping with a burglary to retrieve a ring that he feels belongs to him.

So far, so sparky. But then the pair head north to see Tommy's estranged wife (Staunton) - and the fun goes south. Not that this section isn't well performed, by Staunton especially, but it just comes from a different film entirely.

Still, a running gag involving Antony Sher as a suicidal foodie who wants Crook to eat his body parts works quite well, and, when the seriously gorgeous Arterton (as Tommy's daughter) throws herself at the deeply unattractive Paul, the guy next to me at the preview turned to his friend and said: 'There you go mate. There's hope for you yet.'

David Quinlan

UK 2008. UK Distributor: Worldwide Bonus Entertainment. Technicolor.
101 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 19 Apr 2008