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One Last Chance (2004)

Don’t get the bum’s rush

Directed by:

Stewart Svaasand

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 96 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

Country: Norway, United Kingdom

Fitz, Seany and Nellie (Jamie Sives, Kevin McKidd and Iain Robertson) are three twenty-something laddies desperate to escape the mind-numbing tedium of life in the Scottish Highland backwater of Tullybridge. It’s got one grimy little pub, one tiny pathetic shop, and an unattended corpse clutching a lump of solid gold. Are they thinking what we’re thinking? Too right they are.

This sharp, dark comedy dumps us right into the misty and strangely-accented netherworld that is the Scots Highlands, and takes the inbuilt quirkiness of the setting for all it’s worth. All our three heroes want to do is cash in on the nugget and get the Hell out of their hills-and-heather-surrounded prison, but news travels fast in a wee town like this one.

As one ridiculous (but nonetheless entertaining) twist leads to the next, it seems each time Fitz and co can take a step forward they end up taking two steps back. An underworld curling club (yes, really!), a gang of murderous hard men (led, of course, by big James Cosmo – who else?) and a REALLY nasty-looking dog all stand in their way. And I haven’t even mentioned the bloke who runs the old folk’s home yet.

Produced by on-off Hollywood superstar Dougray Scott (who also has a fairly minor role in the picture) and distributed by Scottish Screen, this must surely be the most enjoyable film to come out of Scotland in the last few years. Rarely bothering to get serious and revolving around a series of tongue-in-cheek contrivances and coincidences, it’s almost like an old school caper movie – only with some much meaner humour.

Sives, who also starred in 2002’s ‘Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself’ and had a minor part in fitba’ flick ‘Mean Machine’, produces another confident performance here and, for this reviewer’s money, secures his place in the “one to look out for” category. That goes for writer-director Stewart Svaasand too, who’ll hopefully avoid falling into the trap of giving us one good movie and then simply disappearing, never to be heard of again. Scotland needs more stuff like this.

It's Got: Christ on a dashboard.

It Needs: A better title – ‘Fool’s Gold’ or ‘The Bum’s Rush’ (which was actually its original working title) to name but two possibilities.

Alternatives:

American Cousins, Local Hero, Man Dancin'

Summary

A hidden gem in more ways than one.

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