Thursday, 10 July 2014

Vacuuming Completely Nude In Paradise (2001)

"Sell sell fookin' sell"

Following the critical failures of A Life Less Ordinary and The Beach, Danny Boyle returned to television and Manchester to direct some low budget features brimming with originality, not least of all in the then new DV technology - a process he would go on to use when commencing his triumphant return to the big screen for 28 Days Later.

The results of these back to basic endeavours were two plays by Jim Cartwright; Strumpet (previously reviewed here) and Vacuuming Completely Nude In Paradise.

I'm normally loathe to use the phrase 'like (insert name of well known film or TV show) on drugs' because it's just a lazy catch all speak for creatively bereft media execs and commissioning editors. But there is something in the grubby gallery of  adrenalin fuelled grotesques careering at the DV camera's unusual angles that does make this feel like Glengarry Glen Ross on drugs - not just on acid but on scuzzy street speed too.

Like Cartwright's famous play Road, the characters are stylised northern, larger than life and twice as ugly. Timothy Spall stars as Tommy, a ruthless vacuum salesman who takes hapless apprentice Pete (Michael Begley) under his wing, in scenes reminiscent of Training Day for travelling salesmen. It's clear that Spall is having a whale of a time, turning in a vivid performance that earned him a BAFTA nomination and leaves the viewer feeling like they've been on a manic rollercoaster, covered in spittle from listening to his furious invectives.

A piece that really saw Boyle find his feet again, the near Dickension morality, deliberately stagy scene involving Pete's first sale to a tragic and gullible young single mother up to her eyes in debt, living on the never never with her remarks that she's 'fearful cold' and her artless confession that her grandmother has convinced her to pose nude for readers wives to make some money, is worth the price of admission alone.

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