Stewart Sugg wrote
and directed his first feature film, Fast Food. Shot on a small budget, the film
sold extensively around the world, played in the London Film Festival and gained a UK
release. Stewart was then commissioned to write and direct a £3 million feature film for
the renowned producer Norma Heyman at Pagoda Films. Production began in London on March
27, 2000 and wrapped later that spring.
This is an odd, but lovable British cross of Big Daddy and Rain Man with
guns and violence from newcomer Stewart Sugg. International acting heavyweight Stellan
Skarsgård stars as a retiring hit man, Felix. He is the last of the "old
school" hit men who founded this boiler room "club", complete with full
bar. Felix has a very different set of values and sense of honor than the new youthful
regime, resulting in a clash with the tantrum-prone kid, Big Bob, who leads the band of
assassins. Big Bob orders a hit on Felix after he leaves, and spends most of the film
trying have Felix killed. Meanwhile, Felix has taken an assignment to look after a wealthy
patron's son while he is away. When Felix arrives, he finds an "idiot manchild"
in his thirties who has never left left the house (shades of Being There?) due to
a neurotically overprotective father. Bubba is played by the ever-portly Chris Penn in a
convincing, if underplayed, example of casting against type.
Felix finds Bubba for the first time grotesquely dressed like a twelve-year-old boy
surrounded by toys and stuffed animals. After only one afternoon, Felix decides to move
Bubba to his own flat. It is at this point that Felix's expostition is revealed to us,
including a thematically prominent relationship with the beautiful and engaging Sherry
(Jacqueline McKenzie), which is quickly going sour because of hard-boiled Felix's
inability to express his feelings. Bubba learns quickly (perhaps a bit too quickly,
threatening my suspension of disbelief) by watching and following Felix, and is soon
drinking, smoking, and having a sexual relationship with an empathetic girl he meets in a
bar, Kat (Sienna Guillory). However, Bubba is not the only one undergoing an accelerated
education; Felix, too, is learning some hard lessons.
A career hit man finds himself the target in Kiss Kiss (Bang Bang), a stylish
genre hodge-podge in which lethal violence and acceptably limned sentimentality cohabit
with varying degrees of success. Contempo London-set pic has a fetching '60s retro feel
but is defiantly uneven in its plotting, relying too much on genetic notions of family
ties and generalizations about beauty to be found in an ugly world. In rendering
semi-sordid proceedings light rather than lugubrious, the excellent jazzy and choral score
by composer John Dankworth cannot be overestimated... Production design is snappy, acting
In Kiss Kiss (Bang Bang) first time writer-director Stewart Sugg attempts to (yet
again) meld the crime genre with a quirky buddy comedy, and while the results are mildly
entertaining, it doesnt quite make good on its interesting premise and a great lead
cast. Certainly the film grabbed me in the first ten minutes with its stylish, quirky
opening scene, but all too soon Kiss Kiss (Bang Bang) adopts a snails pace;
taking forever and a day to complete the first act, and languishing until midway through
the second when the beautiful Ms. McKenzie makes her welcome appearance.
Above all, it is the writing that lets the film down. While containing
some entertaining set pieces - a nicotine overdose brought on by a hundred simultaneous
patches being one of them - there just isnt enough meat on the bones. Wonderful
character actors in their own rights, Stellan and Jacqueline certainly have their moments,
and despite a script that has him silent and doeful for most of the film, Chis Penn
provides quite a reasonable Forrest Gump. But their best efforts are hampered at every
turn by dangling subplots, poor dialogue and a bunch of laughably underwritten and
over-played supporting roles.
The DVD and
video are available in Europe (Region 2 format).
Check out cast information & Andrew Howe's review.
trailer at Allocine.fr
(Click on "Bande Annonce")
Read or view the interview with Stellan and Stewart at the
Dinard British Film Festival.