10,000 Bullets   Exploring the world of Cinema from the Arthouse to the Grindhouse™

Straightheads (BluRay) 
Written by: on July 16th, 2010

Theatrical Release Date: UK, April 27th, 2007
Director: Dan Reed
Writer: Dan Reed
Cast: Gillian Anderson, Danny Dyer, Ralph Brown, Anthony Calf, Adam Rayner, Antony Byrne.

DVD released: March 22nd, 2010
Approximate running time: 77 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 / 1080P / AVC/H.264/MPEG4
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: English LPCM 2.0
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: Verve Pictures
Region Coding: Region Free PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £17.99

Alice (Gillian Anderson) works in the city. A somewhat robotic looking high-powered executive, she works for a creepy dude in a wheelchair called Misha, and she’s all business as she clomps around London in her heels carrying an over sized briefcase. When she gets home she finds Adam (Danny Dyer) the IT bloke she’s hired to inexplicably wire up every room in her house with spycams, dozing on her patio smoking a spliff. Her reaction? Invite him to an elaborate shindig out in the country of course, after letting him spy on her in the shower naturally. After a couple of glasses of champagne and a quickie in the woods Alice and Adam head home only to smash into a deer with their car. Unfortunately the Land Rover that stops to assist the hapless couple contains a trio of middle-aged miscreants that proceed to beat Adam senseless and violently rape Alice. Cut to a month later – Alice; listless and broken, and Adam; impotent, scarred and blind in one eye, are still together. When Alice’s father dies she heads out to his house in the country and spots one of her attackers from a distance. Following him to his farm, she finds he lives only a few miles down the road from her childhood home. Enlisting Adam’s help Alice dusts off her father’s army rifle and goes hunting for justice and revenge…….

This much maligned rape/revenge thriller premiered in 2007 and unceremoniously snuck out on BluRay in March of this year. Critically lambasted to the tune of ‘unnecessarily brutal’, ‘ridiculously plotted’ and ‘oh God not Danny Dyer again’. The film’s problems in my humble opinion stem not from the violence on display but more with the sheer UNlikability of the main protagonists. Take Alice for example, are we supposed to identify with this supposed professional woman? Within hours of meeting a random, weed smoking, scruffy IT guy half her age she’s gave him a strip show, pissed in front of him and shagged him in the woods – not to mention dragged him to a party being thrown by her disabled former lover, nice! She certainly doesn’t ask for or deserve her fate but her persistent sullenness a month after the incident combined with her continued sexual appetite for Adam doesn’t help matters. However Anderson really gives it her all in this performance and you can’t help but feel she has wasted a lot of time and energy here. As for Adam, well, it’s professional mockney cunt Danny Dyer, nuff said really. What the hell is Alice still doing with Adam a month later? Is it because she feels sorry for him that she allows him to hang out in her swishy pad jerking off to porn all day, or at least trying to anyway, only coming up for air to have another temper tantrum now and then.

It’s at this point in the film that perhaps the audience could begin to feel some sympathy for Adam and Alice but all too quickly the revenge plot kicks in and the couple are frolicking through the woods shooting innocent dogs and, in Adam’s case, getting all sweaty at the though of raping the rapist’s daughter – let’s only peripherally mention the complete absurdity of a bloke in an easily identifiable white eyepatch attempting to hide his identity with a ski-mask which clearly shows his bright white bloody eyepatch! The monumental mis-match of Dyer and Anderson aside the plot is indeed ridiculously contrived but then writer/director Dan Reed has made the point that this is supposed to be a nightmarish fairy tale/fable and as such the believability of the storyline becomes academic. Technically the film looks great with relatively high production values considering it’s limited budget, the cinematography is commendable in particular. In the end despite it’s lofty aspirations about the nature of justice and revenge this is a pale echo of something that could have been better; Straw Dogs springs to mind. That said I’d prefer the UK Film Council and National Lottery to keep funding projects like this rather than period dramas or rom-coms – at least Dan Reed has pushed the boundaries and created a polished and fairly original production, I look forward to seeing him develop further as a dramatic filmmaker.

The BluRay:

25GB Disc. Picture is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic, MPEG-4/AVC encode and 1080/50i transfer. The quality is excellent considering the film was shot in Super 16, colors are strong and vivid, good contrast levels, details are sharp – my only complaint would be a slight softening of the image in the darker scenes. Audio is English LPCM 2.0, excellent track, clean and clear. There are no optional English subtitles.

Nice selection of extras, ported over from the original DVD release though, nothing new for Blu –

A commentary with writer/director Dan Reed and actors Danny Dyer and Gillian Anderson –  This is a fairly lively little talk track from the trio, lots of laughter. Dan Reed is the most informative about the making of the film, as you’d imagine, with Anderson coming across as a bit of a newbie to this kind of thing but still getting into the spirit of the process and providing some insight behind the motivations of her character and the like. Dyer is just as you’d imagine “that’s roight luv, get in there, fing is I don’t remember why that bit got elbowed, do you luv?” oh dear……..

30 minutes of deleted scenes (with optional commentary by Reed, Dyer & Anderson) – There are some interesting snippets here, the most significant of which is probably a better look at the rapist’s back story and his own victimization within the group of nutters he calls friends. Plus an unintentionally hilarious ‘Adam stalks the rapist’s daughter’ sequence and a half finished ‘birthday cake cg rape flashback’ sequence that was rightly binned as it would just have been bloody awful.

Behind the scenes – 7 minutes of selected B-roll footage mainly from the party scene as well as a couple of snippets from Alice’s office and the woods.

Cast & crew interviews – 21 minutes of selected soundbites from Reed, Anderson and Dyer filmed on set during the party scene and covering a wide range of topics from Reed’s casting of the film’s two main leads to Anderson discussing how she deals with physical scenes to Dyer imparting nuggets of wisdom like “me wife’s got the ump wiv me at the moment”, etc.

Also included is an original theatrical trailer.

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