Cuckoo (tbc)

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Review byMatthew Turner17/12/2010

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 89 mins

Disappointing British thriller that's let down by a confused script, sluggish direction and a cast that never quite gels together, despite a strong leading performance from Laura Fraser.

What's it all about?
Directed by Richard Bracewell (who made the under-rated 2006 drama The Gigolos), Cuckoo stars Laura Fraser as Polly, a medical researcher who's trying to leave her job with obsessive, over-protective cardiology Professor Julius Greengrass (Richard E. Grant). At the same time, Polly worries that she might be going mad when she starts hearing strange noises in the flat she shares with her rock musician boyfriend Chapman (Adam Fenton).

The Good
The always-excellent Laura Fraser (make more films, Laura!) delivers a strong performance that is probably better than Cuckoo really deserves and scrapes the film an extra star in the process. There's also strong support from Antonia Bernath as Polly's sister Jimi, but Fenton is a bit of a damp squib and fails to convince, while a miscast Grant wears an expression that says 'So it's come to this ...' and looks painfully awkward throughout.

The Bad
The obvious influences for the film are Polanski's Repulsion (Catherine Deneuve cracking up in a London flat) and 40s classic Gaslight (one of them anyway – the 1940 British version was promptly remade by Hollywood), but the confused script doesn't do those comparisons justice. Instead, having finally established the mystery of the voices (after taking a good half hour to really get going), the film stumbles around aimlessly, with long stretches of nothing happening (a variation on the “Chapman? Is that you?” scene occurs over and over again) before an equally confusing flurry of activity brings the film to an even more baffling end.

On top of that, the film completely wastes the wonderful Tamsin Greig – you keep thinking she's going to turn out to be important in some way but she's barely even given any dialogue and her character is ultimately entirely superfluous.

Worth seeing?
Despite a strong performance from Laura Fraser, Cuckoo is a disappointing, frequently confused thriller that fails to provide anything resembling thrills, thanks to a painfully thin script, sluggish direction and some dodgy acting.

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Content updated: 22/03/2019 15:13

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