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Thursday, October 6, 2011

BOXED (2002)

The twist in this standard-issue IRA hostage tale holds real dramatic promise, but not enough to freshen up the relentlessly ordinary treatment it gets from its cast & debuting writer/director Marion Comer. Apparently, before the recent cessation of hostilities, IRA terrorists had a circuit of so-called ‘tame priests’ who they could call on to administer last rites before killing a prisoner. The priests offered absolution to the vicitm . . . and kept their mouths shut. Then, it's on to the next soul. With a running time of 77 min., Comer might well have stuck with this moral dilemma as her play’s engine. Instead, we get a big fat gimmick as the IRA operatives bring in the wrong priest! A young, questioning pup who’s already in conflict with his superior (the ‘tame’ guy, natch) and with his own ideas on how to serve Jesus . . . blah, blah, blah. The actors attack their lines as if they were still auditioning for their parts and the physical look of the video-to-film (then back to video!) DVD transfer hardly helps. And yet . . . there’s a legit idea hiding in here. Pity.

WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: There are loads of better IRA dramas around, but this film is more in line with a classic hostage pic like THE PETRIFIED FOREST/’36. Our soggy priest would have killed to play the Leslie Howard role.

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