Puffball (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner16/07/2008

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 120 mins

As good as it is to have legendary director Nicolas Roeg making films again, Puffball suffers from a confusing and frequently ridiculous plot, despite the best efforts of a decent cast.

What's it all about?
Directed by Nicolas Roeg (Don't Look Now) and adapted from a novel by Fay Weldon, Puffball stars Kelly Reilly as gorgeous ginger architect Liffey Lambert, who moves to rural Ireland with the intention of restoring a ruined cottage. On her first day, she meets her neighbour Mab (Miranda Richardson), a 40-something woman with three daughters, who tells her that she's trying for a son with her husband, farmer Tucker (William Houston).

When Liffey accidentally gets pregnant by her visiting fiance Richard (Oscar Pearce), word quickly gets back to Mab's mother Molly (Rita Tushingham), who declares that Liffey has stolen the baby meant for Mab and sets some bizarre voodoo in motion to rectify matters. However, things don't quite go according to plan, leading Mab and Molly to resort to desperate measures.

The Good
The performances are excellent, with Reilly and Richardson both on top form – it's entirely to their credit that some of the film's more ridiculous scenes aren't laughed off the screen. In addition, Roeg creates a suitably creepy atmosphere that works well, although the film misses a chance for extra weirdness by refusing to use Mab's young twin daughters for sinister Evil Twin purposes.

The Bad
Sadly, the plot is all over the place: a traumatic flashback is left unexplained, while you're never sure which magic spell is meant to be working at any point, or what it's supposed to achieve. Similarly, it's also never explained how Mab intends to take Liffey's baby in the first place.

Despite the odd plotting and some ill-conceived anatomical inserts, there are flashes of the old Roeg here, most notably during an intense sex scene between Liffey and Tucker.

Worth seeing?
There are the seeds of a good idea here, but Puffball is ultimately too silly and too confusing to really work, despite strong performances. Disappointing.

Film Trailer

Puffball (18)
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Content updated: 24/09/2018 02:39

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