Director    Dan Reed
Starring    Gillian Anderson, Danny Dyer, Ralph Brown, Adam Rayner, Antony Byrne
Release    April 27 (UK)    Certificate 18
2 stars


24th April 2007

Before the opening credits of Straightheads roll, a National Lottery logo appears and fittingly flicks two fingers up at you. Funded by the National Lottery Film Council, this is a horrible waste of British money that would have been better spent building public toilets or car parks. When I buy my Lucky Dip every week, I trust my £1 goes to a good cause - if Straightheads is where my money is going, then consider my gambling habit well and truly curbed.

Adam (Dyer) is a CCTV installation boy who ends up romantically entangled with one of his posh customers, Alice (Anderson). After watching her strip off seductively in a grubby little Quicktime window, Adam and Alice embark on an unlikely relationship that sees her whisk him off to a high society party where he's laughed at by superior socialites. Driving home on a country road, the pair end up crashing after a little bit of auto-erotica and are surprised to find that the Jeep they just cut up has caught up with them. Out pile some country rubes who beat seven shades of shit out of Adam and brutally rape Alice. No one violates Agent Scully and gets away with it, so the couple form a poorly thought-out plan to execute a bloody revenge.

Nothing about Straightheads manages to convince. The relationship between Dyer and Anderson is as awkward and stilted as you might imagine; we're supposed to believe that the chalk-and-cheese pairing of Cockernee geezer and posh totty is more than just a bunk-up, but there's a serious lack of chemistry and very little indication as to why the still strikingly attractive Anderson would be interested in a wimpy twat like Dyer. Their cringeworthy scenes of flirtation are like fingers down a blackboard ("So... would you like to come to a party with me?") and if Anderson was trying to pull off the role of a dangerous, edgy seductress, then perhaps the scene where she comically squats next to her car and takes a big steaming piss is a tad unnecessary. You'll see more convincing relationships on Celebrity Love Island.

By far the most interesting roles should be those of the rapists - what drives a group of middle-aged men to roam country roads looking for fresh meat? Unfortunately, Straightheads is so concerned about racing to the finish line, it forgets about the who, what, where, when and why and renders the entire film impotent as a result. Ralph Brown (Withnail and I's Danny the Dealer) would appear to be the ringleader but is portrayed as a cackling maniac with no motivation or obvious signs of life. Without a good villain, we're reduced to watching scene after scene of aimless, clichéd retribution that's been better handled a thousands times before. Straw Dogs, for example.

Straightheads is as shallow as a puddle and forgoes anything approaching realism in favour of OTT violence and needless gore. Tension is repeatedly pricked by the awful script and scenes of a sexual nature that are shoehorned into proceedings, like Dyer pathetically flogging his dead horse and several shots of Anderson's goods. Such titillation cannot paper over the cracks: there's no escaping the fact that the two main characters are two-dimensional and lack any real humanity.

The now infamous finale, complete with anal gun rape, sums up the film perfectly - a confusing, needless mix of sex and violence that makes no sense and is, quite frankly, a pain in the arse to watch. So, not only is the National Lottery housing terrorists and paying for illegal immigrants' haircuts, it's now funding bum-rapists too. The Daily Mail have every right to be outraged.

More:  Thriller  Drama
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