SHADOW RUN

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Shadow Run Cover Do you think that there any similarities between gangsters and choirboys? Now I have been pondering this fact recently, because one likes to rob, steal, and plunder, whilst the other one sings, wears a silly outfit, and is normally in their informative years. OK, I am sure that you are wondering to yourself “What a stupid question to pose?”. But all I have to say in my defense, is that I thought of it after watching this film. This film Directed by Geoffrey Reeve; and Starring: Michael Caine, James Fox, Tim Healy, Matthew Pochin, Kenneth Colley, and Leslie Grantham. It lasts for 91 minutes, and was made in 1998.

Shadow Run


THE STORY:
Please allow me to introduce to you two very different people - Haskel (Michael Caine) and Joffrey (Mathew Pochin)- plus their intertwining stories.

HASKEL'S STORY: Haskel is an aged gangster who is currently in the employ of a crooked statement, who goes by the name of Landon-Higgins (James Fox). Now by happenstance and by chance, Haskel is presented with a very perplexing opportunity for him to expand upon.

You see, after a very bloody affair in the English countryside, Haskel finds out from an old college of his, Daltrey (Tim Healy), that there is a paper-mill in the vicinity that produces paper for currency. Moreover, once Landon confirms this fact to him, Haskel sets off to investigate this valuable news so he can further his own pocket.

OK, so how does Haskel go about doing this then? Well, to begin with, he befriends an ailing driver who once used to work at this paper-mill, Larcombe (Kenneth Colley), before subsequently gauging the services of a like-minded felon, Liney (Leslie Grantham) to help him infiltrate this facility.

However, there is one problem with this plan - it involves their ploy to include them driving amidst the 'Shadow Run' - a transitional ‘black spot’ that impedes any broadcast signals within an allotted vicinity.

Simple, right? No.

JOFFREY'S STORY: In essence, Joffrey is a very sad character indeed. He is a emotional choirboy who goes to boarding school, with a father in jail, a slight weight problem, and he is constantly being picked on by his classmates for his incessant lying.

Heck, the only thing he does not lie about, is his previous encounters with Haskel.

Well, Joffery has come into contact with Haskel three times so far. The first time was after a very bloody affair in the countryside. The second time whilst Haskel is scouting the route of the 'Shadow Run'. And the third time when Haskel and Liney have to break into the church Joffery sings in, to make their paper-mill robbery more compliant.

Obviously, none of Jofferys so called 'friends' believe him about any of these encounters. Except for Victoria – a classmate – and someone who is a good chum to Joffery. Just like Haskel as a matter of fact, when he needs his help with his robbery.

Still, I suppose that is why what next transpires if a rather loud affair all in all. As it all ends with A GRAB! A CRASH! A WALLOP! And a TRA-LA-LA-LA-LAAAAAA!


[Sorry -- No Trailer For This Clip]


THE REVIEW:
Now let me just say that 'Shadow Run' is a rather perplexing film to review. Well, on the one hand, it has a great all-brit cast – an evolving story – and a subject matter that is not only innovative, but strange at the same time. Whilst on the other hand, it has that ‘made for TV’ feel about it – it tries to do too much – and it is kind of confusing in places as well. Moreover, you have to take into consideration that it was based on a book by author, Desmond Lowden, and was never released in the cinema.


Michael Caine and Dirty Den in Shadow Run


Firstly, please allow me to elaborate on the positive, OK? (1) Michael Caine plays the aged gangster very-very well. It is just amazing how he can still appear intimidating at his more mature age. (2) The brit-cast involved all do a bang up job also, with most of them holding there own ‘acting-wise’ throughout. And (3) The story is very benign all the way through, and manages to envelop the overall arc one segment at a time, whilst also telling two parallel tales of a crime and a choirboy.

Kid from Shadow Run
Now to juxtapose the positive, is the negative. (1) The quality of this production is kind of detrimental to the feel of this movie, because it just brings the whole ambiance down with the sets used, and the scenes staged. Granted, at times, an artistic flair does rear its head. But this just makes the overall production seem more unbalanced than it should be. (2) Although the story is an evolving one, in places, it tries to push all the different elements to the fore with top heavy exposition. This – I am afraid to say – makes the film just a tad too confusing at places (especially at the beginning), because you are not too sure what is happening, or why it is happening in the first place. Fair enough, I have to admit, that all of this is revealed eventually. But by the time this happens, you kind of forgotten about why it was revealed in the first place. And (3) As much as I loved watching the 'love interest' aspects relating to the two main protagonists, I am afraid to say that ultimately the result of this 'inclusion' did not really add anything to the overall story. Too flat - too hollow.


Sexy Nurse in Shadow Run


OK-OK-OK, I am sure by now that you can understand my perplexed demeanour at the beginning of this review. 'Shadow Run is a good bad film with both positive and negative aspects to it (as most films do). I just find that if the story was a tad more focused in places, and did not try to 'force' the crime / choirboy parallel story-line, it would have been a much better film than it actually was. Still, bravo to all involved – for at least trying to open the box cinematically on an evolving crime caper. So-so film.

THE RATING: B-