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Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee

Film Four Stars
Le Donk had a few things going for it when I read about it in the Edinburgh International Film Festival brochure, it comes from Shane Meadows, who some proclaim to be the saviour of British cinema, something that does the rest of the business an injustice I think, and it starred Paddy Considine. With that I thought how could I not go and see the film? Add to that the fact that when I entered the press screening it was amazingly packed, every seat was taken, and the heat began building. This was perhaps the most packed screening I'd seen as a member of the press at the EIFF. Ever.

The other thing that was noticeable was the audience interaction with the film. There was laughter and applause, and come the time to leave when the footage kicked in during the titles, people who had left early, myself included because of the incredible heat, were turning back to crowd in the doorways and see the remaining moments. Now that's got to be the sign of a bunch of people who enjoyed a film, surely, and this lot were all press, people who are far too quick to leap out and show no signs of emotion during a film screening.

Plot.pngLeDonk.jpgLe Donk & Scor-zay-zee is a fake documentary following Donk, a roadie who is a bit of a waster in his day to day life, about to be a father. He no longer lives with the mother who now has a new, much more reliable boyfriend, and as much as he tries to build himself up, his life just never amounts to anything. That's where Scor-zay-zee comes in, for Donk is managing him and trying to nurture him onto a bigger career. His plan is simple, take him to the concert he's working as a roadie on and try and get him an opening set. That's it. However it's crazy enough that it just might work.

TheFilm.pngThe director of the documentary in the film is actually Shane Meadows, the director of the film itself, you following this? The surprising thing is that he's really good in the role and manages to not sound like a director acting and actually like a director who is just following the bizarre actions and strange decisions from the focus of the film, but yet just can't keep the camera off them. His character is key in some important moments in the film to highlight just how strange Donk is behaving and to act as a guide and leveller in the story.

He does a great job too, and I was very concerned that he was going to play too big a part in the film, letting a director's ego overpower his addition and actual need to be in the story, compromising the entire movie, however it never does and he plays it just right. Meadows is as comfortable in front of the camera as he seems to be behind it.

It's not just the role of the director either, it's the entire crew and how much interaction they have in Donk's life, his engineering his own appearance in Scor-zay-zee's stage performance and the whole debacle that follows and his growing self realisation is all really well done. These interactions feel real and, as with the director, are never overly used. Some of the subtleties of the characters and the way they interacted was surprisingly good.

Paddy Considine was utterly brilliant, and like so many of the other actors in the film, entirely convincing in his role. He undoubtedly stole the entire show, and with his performance it's a real question just how much was totally off the cuff and how much was pre-planned. It plays out so well and the characters and story development flow so well, you do wonder if there was a lot more scripted and worked through before each scene. It seems as though there isn't much wasted dialogue in the scenes, either that or there was a hell of a lot of editing to do.

Scor-zay-zee also gave a good performance considering he wasn't an actor and his character has some good moments to play off of Considine. He could be a bit of a natural and didn't seem phased by the cameras.

Overall.pngWhat was great about Le Donk was how it felt so natural and so believable for all of these characters, and while some of the earlier moments did feel like a faux film, later on I felt much more involved in the story and with the characters. It wasn't long before that faux feeling had passed.

While Shane Meadows involvement was a bit of a surprise it was Paddy Considine who stole the show and gave a superb performance as Donk. Watching his acting through all the nuances of the character, his growing ego and the moments of self realisation, are rather impressive and do show a great actor sitting in there.

Donk is definitely a film that's going to do well and I was surprised to hear the applause from the press audience in the packed cinema.

Filmstalker at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2009
Buy or Rent from Lovefilm
Film details on UK IMDB




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