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Closing the Ring (1 star)

War/romance/drama

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Closing the Ring

God bless Sir Richard Attenborough. Bless him for all his charity work and his renowned philanthropic spirit in an industry of Brutuses. Bless him for his long and varied acting career which includes unforgettable performances in Brighton Rock, The Angry Silence and Séance on a Wet Afternoon. Bless him for directing Oh What a Lovely War!, A Bridge Too Far and Ghandi. Attenborough is and should be an aged and beloved symbol of our once burgeoning film industry. Sadly, his new film, a torpid period weepy played out between WWII Belfast and North Carolina in 1991 is complete tosh.

Happy Ethel Ann (Mischa Barton) loves her new husband Teddy (Stephen Amell), but when his plane crashes near Belfast in 1944 she withdraws from society. Fifty years later, redemption for the now aged Ethel (played by Shirley MacLaine) comes in the shape of her husband’s best friend Jack (Christopher Plummer) and an excitable Irish boy called Jimmy Reilly (Martin McCann).

This turgid mound of exposition, terrible dialogue, appalling score and incomparable plot twists must on paper have seemed like a winning geriatric-friendly tearjerker, a fusion of Atonement and A Matter of Life and Death. On celluloid it’s an interminable abomination. For a much more interesting take on a very similar story seek out Nicholas Renton and William Ivory’s 2002 BBC TV series Night Flight (also starring Plummer). (Paul Dale)

General release from Fri 28 Dec.

Closing the Ring

  • 1 star
  • 2007
  • UK/Canada/US
  • 118 min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Richard Attenborough
  • Written by: Peter Woodward
  • Cast: Shirley MacLaine, Christopher Plummer, Mischa Barton, Stephen Amell, Neve Campbell, Pete Postlethwaite, Gregory Smith

A torpid period weepy played out between WWII Belfast and North Carolina in 1991. Its turgid mound of exposition, terrible dialogue, appalling score and incomparable plot twists must on paper have seemed like a winning geriatric-friendly tearjerker, a fusion of 'Atonement' and 'A Matter of Life and Death'. An interminable…

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