Beautiful Creatures

on April 06, 2001 by Chris Wiegand
"Beautiful Creatures" attempts to distinguish itself from the recent deluge of laddish British crime flicks by using a predominantly female perspective. It initially promises to be an entertaining slice of girl power in a "Thelma and Louise" vein, but unfortunately fails to build on this and resorts to using some pretty formulaic crime scenarios.

Whilst in the process of escaping from her violent boyfriend (Iain Glen), Dorothy (Susan Lynch) comes to the rescue of Petula (Rachel Weisz), a dizzy and attractive blonde who is in the middle of a fight with her own abusive partner Brian (Tom Mannion). Dorothy knocks Brian out and suggests that Petula drive him home and call the police. But Petula can't drive, and so the girls end up lugging Brian back to Dorothy's flat. When he dies later that night, they find themselves in a dangerous predicament, especially as Brian's violent and unpredictable brother, Ronnie (Maurice Roëves), is Petula's boss. Petula does her best to cover up the disappearance, but when a detective (Alex Norton) turns up at her door to investigate the case and one of Brian's fingers arrives in the post at the same time, things become rather complicated.

Bill Eagles' film seems unable to decide whether it is an irreverent comedy or a violent gangster film, and this uncertainty lies behind its lack of success. "Beautiful Creatures" strives toward originality but all too often falls back on jarring clichés, with its cast of cartoon criminals and bent coppers and the use of some extremely unimaginative imagery such as banknotes splattered with blood. The film does offer some uniquely gruesome touches and inventive humor along the way, and both Weisz and Lynch are excellent as two very different girls in similar relationships. However, their performances only serve to highlight the film's many inadequacies. Starring Rachel Weisz, Susan Lynch, Iain Glen and Tom Mannion. Directed by Bill Eagles. Written by Simon Donald. Produced by Simon Donald and Alan J. Wands. A Universal Focus release. Comedy/Drama. Rated R for strong violence and sexuality, drug use and language. Running time: 87 min

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