|GREENFINGERS (director/writer: Joel Hershman; screenwriter: based on an article in The New York Times , "Free to Grow Bluebells in England," by Paula Deitz; cinematographer: John Daly; editor: Justin Krish; music: Guy Dagul; cast: Clive Owen (Colin Briggs), Helen Mirren (Georgina Woodhouse), David Kelly (Fergus Wilks), Warren Clarke (Governor Hodge), Danny Dyer (Tony), Adam Fogerty (Raw), Paterson Joseph (Jimmy), Natasha Little (Primrose Woodhouse) Peter Guiness (Dudley), Julie Saunders (Sarah), Lucy Punch (Holly), Sally Edwards (Susan Hodge); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Travis Swords/Daniel J. Victor/Trudie Styler; Fireworks Pictures-Samuel Goldwyn Films; 2000)|
dramatic credibility despite being a
by Dennis Schwartz
seems like the Full Monty bullshit again. Loosely
inspired by a 1998 article by Paula Deitz in The
New York Times about a gardening program in the
Leyhill Prison, which offers a newly minted real
open prison in the Cotswolds and allows the
convicts to roam the expansive
country grounds without supervision. The
inexperienced filmmaker, the Brooklyn born
writer-director Joel Hershman ("Hold
Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me"), is out of his element
in this social conscious melodrama trying to mine for
comedy and at the same time tell a feel-good
criminal Colin Briggs (Clive Owen), imprisoned since a
teenager and now serving a life- sentence for the
murder of his brother, is transferred to the Edgefield
Prison (a fictionalized prison) located in the Cotswolds,
which is a minimum-security prison.
Governor Hodge (Warren Clarke)
orders him to instal a garden, as his father-figure
cellmate Fergus (David Kelly) preaches about
forbearance and is a garden expert. The prisoner's
creative flower beds catch the attention of the local
celebrity flower maven Georgina
Woodhouse (Helen Mirren), which leads to
Colin's team doing out-reach work and becoming a
competitor in the Hampton Court Palace show.
Georgina's pretty daughter Primrose (Natasha
Little) also catches Colin's eye, as the
reformed convict contemplates a fresh start as a free
man as opposed to the no stress life in prison.
The sentimental story of redemption is too sugary for my taste, and is too didactic for me to be entertained by such mush. The pic seemed out of step with the new century, and lacks dramatic credibility despite being a true story.
REVIEWED ON 9/4/2014 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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