44 Inch Chest a penetrating observation of Marriage, Divorce and Revenge

Jun 11, 2010 by Tom Jones

Imagine a scenario in which you’ve been married for over 20 years and one day you spouse nonchalantly tells you that your marriage is finished without providing you a reason. What would be your immediate reactions, emotions, thoughts, and feelings?

Of course, the reactions would be as diverse as the culture that this scenario involves. No question though, that most marriages end in divorce half of the time.

In the aforementioned scenario, the heart wrenching event is between a gangster and his wife.

As the plot moves back and forth in time, to the actual event and what occurs afterwords, the film always keeps you guessing as to how the next scene will play out.

Colin (Ray Winstone) is distraught when wife Liz (Joanne Whalley) leaves him. Subsequently his gangster crew (Tom Wilkinson, John Hurt, Ian McShane and Stephen Dillane) steps in to get together and kidnap the “other man” (Melvil Poupaud), so Colin can have his chance at revenge.

They’re somewhere in London as Colin’s friends try to help him get control of his emotions, essentially encouraging Winstone’s character, Colin, to is get his redemption by killing his wife’s French lover.

The movie was penned from the same writers of the film Sexy Beast, and the man that was kidnapped for revenge, sets the viewer up to witness predictable violence and carnage.

Be that as it may, although Winstone’s character Colin is expected to kill the object of his pain, he meticulously intellectualizes the reasons why and why not an act of revenge would satiate his hurt.

Unbeknown to Colin himself, he reasons through such thorny issues as who would be the ultimate benefactor of potential brutality, if perhaps his motives are such that he’s only hurting himself or his wife, and if in the end, just accepting things the way they should be what they are.

But the movie is relentless in how its characters endlessly try getting Winstone to do the dirty deed and be done with it. Set in one room, and with its relentless English cockney accent and cacophony of foul mouthed dialogue, the viewer is kept guessing until the very end what will happen.

What held my interest in the movie, was how Winstone’s character, nicknamed the “Gentle Giant,” intellectually, emotionally, psychologically, and physically was able to emote his thinking process through to the viewers, as to why and how he made the final decision, including the fanciful interludes of both condensed dialogue and a sequence to Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah, with such bloody good lines like “What am I supposed to do, or feel,” and “That’s it?” after being dealt nothing more than a swift kick to both his groin, life, and ego, the movie becomes more of a play than a film.

The movie is a compelling story in that it delves into that which contemplates the nature of love and asks what it takes to be a man.

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