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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Beautiful Creatures (review)

Friends help you move; good friends help you move bodies. The inconvenient corpse here is Brian (Tom Mannion), and the pals trying to figure out what to do with him are his girlfriend, Petula (Rachel Weisz: Enemy at the Gates), and Dorothy (Susan Lynch) — the gals met when Dorothy whacked Brian about the skull with a pipe as he was trying to choke the life out of Petula in a dark Glasgow alley. Thelma and Louise with a neo-noir twist, this black comedy is about horrible men who deserve to die — like Dorothy’s brutal, drug-addicted beau, Tony (Iain Glen), from whom she is on the run — and the victimized women who decide to take violent control of their own lives. Performances are nice all around — Weisz sheds her cerebral image with a platinum dye job and a scatterbrained dizziness, Lynch exudes the practical, confident sexiness of a woman taking the reins of her life at long last, and Alex Norton (Little Voice) as the skeevy cop investigating Brian’s disappearance makes lizards look positively cuddly. Petula and Dorothy’s plan to extort “ransom” from Brian’s rich and sinister brother, Ronnie (Maurice Roëves), results in the double-crosses and high body count typical of the genre, which the film does stretch the bounds of, particularly in its female protagonists. But though the film — written by Simon Donald and directed by Bill Eagles — is intermittently amusing, it devolves into a finale that is ultimately preposterous. Still, fans of blood-and-guts comedy will enjoy.

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MPAA: rated R strong violence and sexuality, drug use and language

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

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