Another Double Bill of Double Bills

This time, we're lumping together a film noir double bill with a horny teenager one. One pair of films feature a dangerous world filled with slippery characters, shadowy motives and murderous intent, the other two are film noir.


In Cherrybomb (Barros D'Sa & Leyburn, 2009) Love/Hate's Robert Sheehan and Harry Potter's Rupert Grint play two 16 year-old pals competing for the affections of Kimberly Nixon, set against a backdrop of modern day Belfast. It's all about disaffected yoof, innit? We know this because of the stylish, but empty, visuals and the general aimlessness of the plot. But it's not particularly engaging and has little new to say about either horny teen behaviour or modern day Northern Ireland. The leads are fine, although it takes a little while to get used to Ron Weasly talking about blow jobs in a (pretty good) Norn Iron accent. The directors put a Belfast location to better use in the more recent Good Vibrations, which is much better.

The Inbetweeners Movie (Ben Palmer, 2011) hardly stretches the Brit-holiday-abroad template, but has some chuckles along the way, thanks mostly to the likeable cast, with Simon Bird (playing Will) threatening at times to rise above things with some proper acting. With puerile behaviour, a plentiful dollop of innuendo and a splash of nudity here and there, this isn't much more than an update of those saucy seaside postcards. However, it gives the female co-stars their moment in the sun too, and has a sweet enough heart, which makes it clunge times better than Kevin and Perry Go Large. Although not as good as the genius which is Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents.


They Live By Night (Nicholas Ray, 1948) was Ray's assured debut film and is a pretty good noir with an affecting doomed romance at its centre. Notable for a great opening helicopter shot - apparently the first time such a shot was used to shoot action -and a good ending, although it slightly labours in the middle section. Plus couples sure did fall in love and get married fast in the old days - maybe my skepticism says more about me than the film though. It's not the best in the genre, but it's a perfectly acceptable way to while away an empty afternoon.

Now, budding screenwriters, pay attention. Here's a good way to start a film.

"I want to report a murder." 

"Who was murdered?" 

"I was." 

As opening scenes go, you gotta admit that's quite a grabber. D.O.A. (Rudolph Mate, 1950) proceeds to be a pretty snappy noir as Edmond O'Brien faces a race against time to find out who gave him a slow-acting poison, before it kills him. In truth, I wasn't too keen on O'Brien in the lead - he took news of his impending death in remarkably matter-of-fact fashion. However, it's entertaining fare as the whys and and wherefores of the crime are revealed in a complex, slightly dizzying whirl of exposition and characters. Although not quite as confusing as being a horny teenager, admittedly. Now, beware, there's another DOA film out there, which is little more than hot babes and cool fights. Obviously, make sure you're getting the fully clothed, B&W noir one. Unless, of course, you're a horny teenage boy, in which case the one below will probably come in more useful.

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