On A Clear Day

on April 07, 2006 by Richard Mowe
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Hailed as another comedy in the style of "The Full Monty" or "Brassed Off," "On a Clear Day" is equally rousing and likeable, and has more substance and subtlety. It fits perfectly into a genre of true-grit cinema that has become peculiarly British.

"On a Clear Day" deals with plucky determination in the face of adversity and standing up to one's demons. Laid off from his job after almost 40 years, Frank (Peter Mullan) is suffering a crisis of confidence. His solution, which is to swim the English Channel, seems faintly quixotic -- until you discover exactly the nature of the demons in his past with which, decades later, he's still trying to come to terms.

He's helped in his quest for self-esteem by four friends, and their adventures, both separately and together, form the basis of this crowd-pleasing exercise. Ably supported by co-stars Brenda Blethyn and Billy Boyd, Mullan delivers a performance of unusual warmth and conviction.

Astutely scripted by Alex Rose, the narrative is never willing to sell short the characters or to suffuse the story with a surfeit of sentimentality, although it has to be said that the ending will melt even the hardest of hearts. Starring Peter Mullan, Brenda Blethyn, Jamie Sives, Billy Boyd, Sean McGinley and Ron Cook. Directed by Gaby Dellal. Written by Alex Rose. Produced by Sarah Curtis and Dorothy Berwin. A Focus release. Comedy. Rated PG-13 for some language. Running time: 99 min

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