Running Time: 97 minutes
UK Certificate: 15
Country: United Kingdom
Cast your mind back to the 1980s: Van Halen in the charts, men wandering the streets with ridiculous mullets, and a Prime Minister intent on coming down hard on terrorists. Ah, how times have changed!
It was against this not-remotely-like-nowadays backdrop that Irish teacher Brian Keenan and English journalist were kidnapped from the streets of war-torn Beirut by Islamic fundamentalists (or mentalists for short). Confined to a bug-infested cell, the politically-opposed pair gradually came to lean on each other for support in the face of their at-times violent captors and, eventually, become the very closest of friends.
Given that this is based on the writings of both men since their release, and also made use of some considerable involvement from the pair at the scripting stage, its fair to assume that this dramatic recounting of events is as accurate as you can expect a true story movie to get.
Director John Furse, in his first feature-length outing, takes an approach to the job that is simple yet undoubtedly effective – he lets his actors (Ian Hart as Keenan and Linus Roache as McCarthy) play out the story, and all hes doing is filming it. The result is a dialogue-heavy but emotionally-charged hour-and-a-half, which is surprisingly engrossing for a film where relatively little actually happens (they get captured, they spend a couple of years sitting around in their pants, they get released).
Where the film goes wrong is in presenting us with what amounts to a reconstruction and little else. Furse makes the error of assuming that everyone who sees it will already know the ins and outs of the story but those viewers for whom thats not the case will be left none the wiser as to who exactly carries out the kidnapping, let alone why.
This is an extremely interesting piece of work featuring solid if unspectacular performances from Hart and Roache, but by failing to spend any time on the wider issue it misses out on an opportunity to bring us a message as well as a drama.
It's Got: Cockroaches, bad fruit, and a dump in the corner.
It Needs: One last look at the sun (or at least a quick shifty at Page 3).
DVD Extras No extras here (I refuse to count the trailers it forces you to skip through at the start to get to the menu). DVD Extras Rating: 0/10
Definitely more enjoyable than spending two years chained to a radiator.