Qt3 Movie Podcast: 44 Inch Chest

You probably haven’t seen 44 Inch Chest, which just came out on DVD. You should do something about that. Then you can listen to our podcast about this brutal profane poetic British amalgam of Othello, Reservoir Dogs, and Sexy Beast.

Until then, you’ll just have to fast forward to this week’s 3x3 at the 48-minute mark: movies that break the fourth wall.

Next week: Iron Man 2…

I was looking for the DVD of 44 inch chest but no one had it. Then by chance, i discovered it had only just been released in the Australian the cinemas.

So there you go, this podcast is still cutting edge in this part of the world!

Rented it from Netflix, based on this thread. Tom Chick just tricked me into watching a play. All set, more or less, in one room.


Did you feel the same way about Reservoir Dogs? I mean, aside from the part about me tricking you into seeing it? :)


There was a good BBC (?) documentary talking about Reservoir Dogs where a man who basically teaches a course on scriptwriting discusses the fact that the first type of script he teaches is the classic horror film. The basic synopsis is that you ‘take a bunch of actors to a cabin in the woods and chop them up’. He pointed out that Reservoir Dogs is basically that script. In his first real movie script Quentin Tarantino took a bunch of actors to a room and chopped them up.

Not particularly insightful perhaps, but it certainly stuck with me.

I was a little surprised that the podcast didn’t mention Death and the Maiden, which was the first movie I thought of when watching 44 Inch Chest. On the other hand, Loverboy doesn’t speak throughout the movie, and there’s no doubt as to his “guilt”, which is kind of the point of DatM, but the movies still felt quite similar.

Did anyone else chuckle when John Hurt talked about the Elephant Man? Also, I’m amazed that Ian McShane is only 4 years younger than Hurt–he looks like he could be Ray Winstone’s age, whereas Hurt is clearly in Finney / McKellen elder statesman territory. It’s that glossy black hair.

I actually alluded to this at the beginning of the podcast, or meant to. I certainly meant to get around to talking about it because as I was preparing for the show that’s the film I was thinking about. Although I must say for me the comparison was not really kind. I have not seen Death and the Maiden in many years, but I recall not being taken by it. The reason I wanted to bring it up is I recall it as an example of a filmed play that didn’t work for me, although now I can’t recall exactly why.

The other play I wanted to mention was The Crucible, because the film of that really didn’t work for me. I love that play, or at least I’ve loved the productions of it I’ve seen, and I loved it because the stage contains it, and that containment increases the pressure. Which is vital for a show with the word ‘crucible’ in the title. I felt the film opened it up too much. In short, seeing kids running through the woods ruins it.

44 Inch Chest is not an adaptation, but its play-like qualities made me fall for it because it neither fell into the filming trap of needing to open it up (the “how do we get this thing out of the phone booth syndrome”) nor did it lose its power and movement by being in one room for most of the time. In fact, I can imagine it working solely in that one room. I’d mourn losing that awesome opening shot/sequence, but I think it would be interesting to see how a talented stage director adapted it for a small space. How he worked out the set up scene with Liz and staged the dreams/visions within that room.

Death and the Maiden…I don’t know. I think it just felt static to me as a film. Yet I have no experience with it as a play. Should I see it again?


“You see that? She went from love to hate in a split-second.”

No. Your memory is accurate; the film is very static. I didn’t know this was a play when I saw it, but as the movie progressed it became very clear to me that that was the case. This is usually a bad sign. I like my plays to be plays and my movies to be movies.

I’m sympathetic to screenwriters and directors who are trying to transition plays to film, because it always seems difficult unless you take significant liberties. This one in particular seemed like a lost cause because it is mostly about the slipperiness of memory. As a result, the filmmakers couldn’t do the obvious thing to spice it up, i.e., with flashbacks, because that would ruin the plot.

Points for trying, and good acting all around, but ultimately the movie is just too stagey.

I loved Ian McShane as Meridith. It’s amazing how much character is conveyed in how they insult the waiter. Meridith just sitting there waiting for clever wordplay before he chimes in. It’s beautiful.

I agree that the shot with Ray Winstone head on the waiter’s leg, when the waiter puts his hands on Winstone’s head, that it’s very religious and Christ like. I think what the waiter gave him in that moment was empathy, something none of his friends gave him. Not even his wife gave him that much empathy.

Meredith was onto something, that Winstone (Colin) needed validation not only of his anger, but for the time and the love he thought he put into the marriage.

I missed this podcast, but saw the movie just the other day based on the top ten lists. I enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed how it slipped into and out of the most of the dream sequences. A motley crew, for sure. Colin doesn’t so much redeem himself as struggle with his own limitations for 90 minutes. But it’s a mighty struggle.

But here is the thing – I thought they were supposed to be a bunch of criminals, but from looking at the plot summary Diamond is a used car dealer and his buds are just working class lunks like himself. Really? I had no idea.

Somehow knowing that takes something away from the film for me. I should listen to the podcast to see if this came up. Was the fact that they’re not criminals established early on? For the first 20 minutes or so I always struggle with English accents until I fall into the rhythm of the movie. If they weren’t criminals, how did they kidnap loverboy so easily? Why did they do it? For a criminal, I can see how violence would just be the normal way to respond. Where most people might yell at you, a criminal shoots you in the face. That’s just how they roll. But just a bunch of misogynistic, mostly homophobic, working class lunks? Kidnap? Murder? Come on.

I wish they were fucking criminals–then it would all make more sense to me.

Favorite image from the movie: Ray Winston running through the night, trying to escape the memory of beating his wife. There is something vaguely feminine in the way he holds his hands off to his sides, like big men do when they run.

You’re being mashonistic.

Just because their currrent occupation does not read CRIMINAL doesn’t mean they always walked on the right side of the tracks. I thought the movie pretty strongly implied that they’d put people in the chest before. Thay’s not something most people would make a habit of.

Whatever they are, the movie taken on its own is very clear on that they’re not your average bunch of working class guys. The casual way Tom Wilkinson’s character intimidates the bystanders during the kidnapping alone says that says that they know violence very well. And really, why are you letting an outside plot summary spoil your enjoyment of a perfectly good movie?

Favorite image from the movie: Ray Winston running through the night, trying to escape the memory of beating his wife. There is something vaguely feminine in the way he holds his hands off to his sides, like big men do when they run.

Haha, yes. Ray Winstone totally ran like a girl, and I loved it. It’s such a splendid touch.

Oh yes it did. Check out Meredith’s entrance (one of my favorite of the year):

“Fuck me. Déjà vu.”


The fact that they were criminals was established early on, when Tom Wilkinson’s character meets with the crime boss (the guy with the “talking” dog) to discuss Colin’s situation. Yes, Colin runs a car dealership, which is established when he comes home with the flowers, in much the same way that a lot of gangsters* run legitimate businesses.

*In movies, at least. I have no idea about real life.

Ha, ha. I loved that talking dog scene. “Ask him yourself.” And then doesn’t he answer all the questions in a little doggy voice? Of course he was the criminal big boss. Heh.

I didn’t catch all of that conversation, but this (and Sören’s points) make perfect sense. I should buy a copy of Snatch, so I can watch it for 20 minutes before going to see any movies that feature Brits.

Wasn’t that a pepper mill? That was great.

“Toodle pip.”