A runaway disaster
THREE AND OUT Directed by Jonathan Gershfield Starring Mackenzie Crook, Colm Meaney, Imelda Staunton, Gemma Arterton, Anthony Sher, Gary Lewis
15A cert, gen release, 110 min IN THE later stages of this deeply strange British film, Colm Meaney finds himself drinking lager while dancing to The Pogues at a grubby student party. It says something about the film’s curious worldview that the scene is intended to show Meaney, hitherto suicidal, shaking off inhibitions and living life to the full. There must be more exotic ways of seizing the day than this.
Three and Out, a feature debut from television director Jonathan Gershfield, stars The Office’s Mackenzie Crook as Paul, a London Tube driver with ambitions to write serious fiction. After he runs over two commuters in as many weeks, his workmates explain that, if he is involved in one more fatal collision, London Transport will permit him to retire on full pay. (Don’t worry, commuters, the company has no such policy in real life.) Paul sets out to locate somebody already disposed to suicide, who, if offered further inducement in the form of a weekend’s debauchery at the hero’s expense, will agree to lie in front of his train. After much negotiation, Meaney’s distraught Irish boozer accepts the offer.
The film cannot quite decide if it wants to be a mediocre drama or an appalling comedy. The scenes in which Meaney negotiates with his estranged wife (Imelda Staunton) are reasonably moving, but they are overshadowed by a stampede of low-brow gags that even the Carry On team might have found too prurient. Homosexuals are, it seems, predatory by default. Anthony Sher makes an oily psychopath of a passing Frenchman. Kerry Katona raises a weary laugh simply by being herself. After nearly two hours of this stuff, even the most buoyant viewer might find himself yearning to stretch out before the 8.15 to Acton Town.