Welcome to Collinwood (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner17/04/2003

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 86 mins

Slight but enjoyable ‘heist gone wrong’ movie, with a witty script and a great cast on top form – a treat for fans of Guzman, Macey, Rockwell etc.

Welcome to Collinwood is the directorial debut of yet another pair of writer-director brothers, Joe and Anthony Russo. Under the auspices of hip producing combo Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney, they’ve taken a little-known Italian comedy (Big Deal on Madonna Street) and transposed the action to their native Cleveland. What the film really has going for it, however, is its witty script, plus a chance to see a cast full of top flight supporting actors all taking centre stage.

Quirky Phrases And Jailbreaks

The plot starts with small-time loser Cosimo (The Great Luis Guzman) getting thrown in jail (and coining a new X-rated catchphrase into the bargain) and meeting up with a lifer who reveals his plan for The Perfect Heist. (One of the script’s amusing quirks is to assign a few nicknames; hence a perfect heist is a “Bellini”.) Cosimo quickly instructs his girlfriend Rosalind (Patricia Clarkson from Far From Heaven) to find a patsy (or a ‘Mullinsky’) to spring him from jail by taking a payment to do the time.

However, secrets don’t last long in this film (“It was an accident! I was talking and my mouth slipped!”) and soon Rosalind has assembled a bunch of small-time crooks including rubbish Serbian boxer Pero (Sam Rockwell, the film’s nominal lead), single father Riley (William H. Macey, literally left holding the baby), old geezer Toto (Michael Jeter) and dandy Leon (Isiah Washington). Naturally, none of them want to do the time, so instead they stiff Cosimo and embark on the heist themselves…

Sidesplitting Wheel-Chair Safe Cracking

Eagle-eyed film fans may have noticed that the poster for Welcome to Collinwood prominently features George Clooney. However, though he contributes a brilliant and hilarious cameo as a wheel-chair bound safe-cracking expert, he’s only in it for three scenes, so Clooney-fans should adjust their expectations accordingly.

The actors are all on fine form, particularly Macey and Rockwell, and there’s also good support from Jennifer Esposito as the girl who unwittingly plays a key part in the theft. It’s true that ‘heist gone wrong’ flicks are a dime a dozen, but the real joy here is the interaction between some of Hollywood’s best character actors, coupled with its pleasingly quirky script. (“If you ask me, this Bellini is rapidly turning into a Kaputchnik.” “Don’t ever say that!”)

In short, there’s definitely enough here to ensure that the Russo Brothers will be worth watching in the future. The film may be on the slight side and contain several gags that you’ll have seen before, but it’s still a well-acted, enjoyable comedy. Recommended.

Film Trailer

Welcome to Collinwood (15)
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Content updated: 18/12/2017 22:09

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