Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Is Anybody There? DVD Review

Is Anybody There? DVD Review

Is Anybody There?
Rating: M
Michael Caine, Bill Milner, Anne-Marie Duff, David Morrissey
Released by Roadshow Entertainment
1980s England - and in the stifling atmosphere of an old people's home, we find death and dementia not too far away.

10-year-old Edward (Bill Milner) lives in a care home run by his parents - but to get by on a daily basis, Edward has a morbid fascination with death - obsessed by the final moments of some of the residents, Edward spends his time recording their last dying breaths in an attempt to find out what comes after.

One day, while out walking and listening to the exit of an elderly resident on a pair of headphones, he's nearly run over by Michael Caine's ancient magician Clarence. The two form an unlikely bond as Edward realizes after Clarence tries to commit suicide, that he holds the secret to what comes next&

Is Anybody There? is a tear-jerker in parts - but thanks to a stellar performance from Michael Caine it avoids heading down the three hankies track. Once again, Caine manages to turn what could have been a fairly mawkish script into some truly emotive moments - there's pathos in spades here as Clarence first visits the home; he's shocked to realize that he will ultimately end up here but too weary to fight against the inevitability of his condition.

Bill Milner's Edward isn't a bad performance - while his morbid fascination and depressing endless questioning is a product of where he's been brought up, the sense of playfulness and earnest desire to learn about the afterlife and find some meaning in the world make the character rise above what could have been a tearful, doleful mire.

The only unwelcome note in Is Anybody There? is the family marriage melodrama which blights the final portion of the film - it's an unnecessary footnote to what's gone before.

Extras: None (disappointingly)

Rating: 7/10 

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