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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner22/08/2007

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 92 mins

Watchable, energetically directed thriller that doesn't quite come together, despite decent performances from Mackintosh and Walters.

What's it all about?
Directed by Gary Love and adapted by Dominic Leyton from his own play, Sugarhouse stars Steven Mackintosh as Tom, a middle class businessman who is trying to buy a gun from twitchy crackhead D (Ashley Walters) for his own nefarious purposes. However, there's a slight problem: D has nicked the gun from local nutter Hoodwink (Andy Serkis) and he wants it back, by any means necessary.

The Good
Love directs with a certain amount of energy and the film ticks along at a decent pace. There's also a terrific effects shot that's among the best of its kind, though to reveal the circumstances of the shot would give too much away.

In addition, the film does at least feature punchable character actor Adam Deacon getting a kicking and Tolga Safer has an amusing turn as a hoodie who just wants to go to college.

The Bad
Steven Mackintosh is fine and you have to admire Ashley Walters' commitment - his crackhead make-up (conspicuous by its absence on the posters) is very impressive - but Andy Serkis' character is such a cartoonish caricature of rage that he's never remotely scary and you just end up laughing at him. This is a big problem when everyone in the film is meant to be terrified of him and introducing the character by showing him angry, bald, naked and tattooed (snakes on his arse – don't ask) doesn't help matters.

The other main problem is that the film's so-called twists are entirely predictable, robbing the film of any dramatic impact as a result. In addition, it frequently feels stagey, despite the occasional attempts to expand its stage-bound origins.

Worth seeing?
Sugarhouse has its moments and is never less than watchable but ultimately it doesn't quite work, owing to a disappointing script and Serkis' thump-the-scenery performance.

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Content updated: 24/02/2020 21:13

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