Review: The Seventeenth Kind

17th Kind posterStarring Tony Curran, Sylvester McCoy, Brian Blessed, Lucy Pinder, Ralph Brown, Miriam Margolyes

Directed by Andy Collier

Loose Cannon Films

James Richards knows he’s going to be a star… even if he’s currently going through a bad patch as host of a 24 hour shopping channel programme…

Michael Marshall Smith’s satirical swipe at the Shopping Channel and its ilk, as well as those who both watch and work on it (just how much time did you spend researching this, Mike?) is brought to hysterical life in this terrific half-hour short movie, with Tony Curran leading a genre-heavy cast that includes Sylvester McCoy and Brian Blessed. (Any resemblance to the latter’s character in Wizards vs Aliens is coincidental but quite striking!)

Andy Collier and Toor Mian’s script is faithful to the original story, but the writers don’t hesitate to throw in their own gags (check out the location of the TV studio, as revealed in one of the final shots) or alter the relationships between some of the characters, effectively creating a revised first act. This achieves the neat trick of making James both more and less sympathetic than the character in the original!

Curran 17thAs director, Collier keeps things moving well, involving Miriam Margolyes’ character from the start as a pseudo-viewer, and never lets the image be too static for any length of time. The effects are all they need to be for the story, and Edward White’s music is equally effective.

Curran, McCoy and Lucy Pinder make a good combination on screen. McCoy is perfect casting as the overly enthusiastic polish salesman, whose goods attract the wrong sort of attention, and Curran sparkles in the lead, with some nicely-timed reactions, particularly during the sequence depicting his fall from grace.

The film is heading round the festivals, and hopefully will get some form of more general release as well – if you hear of a screening, then don’t miss it!

Verdict: A highly entertaining sharp tale. 8/10

Paul Simpson


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