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Friday, March 28, 2008

Three and Out - Preview Screening - The Verdict

OK, so last night I was lucky enough to be invited to the preview screening of Mackenzie Crook's new film about a London Underground driver,
Three and Out. It had ruffled the feathers of ASLEF general secretary Keith Norman without him even seeing it.

It portrays a Tube driver who learns about the "Three and Out rule". The rule says that if a Tube Driver experiences three people who are hit & killed by their train (a "one under") within a month they get laid off work and receive 10 times their annual salary as a pay off.

Three and Out Preview Screening Press Pack

Here's the trailer that gives you more of an idea of the film:


So armed with popcorn and having had a free beer, me, LJ Rich, Madame Miaow & Brian Pigeon's PR Agent, Lisa went to watch the film.

Plus points - there are a couple of massive twists that I won't reveal here that make the film quite interesting. London Underground obviously approved all filming and the script, so Keith Norman's worries about the industry being disrespected for their work and being made to look like "callous, self seeking halfwits" seemed not to be a concern to the London Underground.

It doesn't belittle suicide and people who are suicidal or make a joke out of either. The Samaritans were consulted in the making of the film.

My worry is that it was trying to hard to tick a lot of these controversial subjects and ended up being not a comedy, not a film about the complex issues behind suicide and not a film about how far someone might potentially go for their own self gain.

It was about half an hour too long. There was a really embarrassing sex scene between Mackenzie Crook and the new Bond girl Gemma Arterton (I'm not a prude but it made me squirm). Mackenzie Crook, to me, seemed to be going through the motions & not injecting the pathos of The Office's Gareth to the role.

28 - Mackenzie in train holding brakes

However, Colm Meaney, the suicidal guy that Crook's character eventually found to jump beneath his train to get the big pay off was very good. Anthony Sher camped it up as a French cannibal who Crook's character mistakenly thought might be a potential suicide victim. Kerry Katona was ... er ... Kerry Katona. Mark Benton, was also a little wasted as Vic, Crook's friend and original reporter of the "Three and Out" rule.

People laughed during the film, but not big belly laughs. There was a bit of romance but it wasn't quite believable for Arterton's character to suddenly fall for Crook because he was "different".

The Tube stuff was fine. Nice scene setting with mice running over the lines. Lots of it clearly shot on real Tube trains. It made London Underground staff look fairly normal and far from the "callous self seeking halfwits" which Norman mentioned above.

So no overall verdict from me, try to see it for yourself when it comes out on the 25th April and share your thoughts after you've seen the entire film - it's not as black and white as Mr Norman from ASLEF states. Thanks to the producers for the invite.

UPDATE - well A LOT has happened to the film since this screening - see the premiere pictures of Three and Out & ASLEF's leafletting of the premiere.


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