Saturday, May 09, 2009

5/7/09: The Chain (1984)

It may not help to be British in order to appreciate The Chain, but there's no way in Marylebone it can hurt. The film, recommended by the pseudonymous John Haptin
of AFCA (I believe his real name is Gussie Coxworth-Shufflebottom IV), is a curiously constructed English set piece involving various people "moving on up" to a new flat or house, creating what's known as a circular property chain—each one dependent on the preceding move. This Chain details seven moves in all, with the characters encompassing the moving-van workers as well as the folks who are moving. But there's more to the gimmick: in addition to extracting humor from the full spectrum of classes (lower straight through to upper), each of the dwellers in transit is supposed to represent one of the Seven Deadly Sins. So there's a big cast accompanying the high concept. Even though I've been an Anglophile since middle school, I would have benefited enormously from subtitles—the accents in The Chain are some of the most incomprehensible I've ever heard. I was able to follow the story reasonably well, but a great deal of the humor was lost on me. There's a running joke about the movers discussing philosophy, and I was very pleased to see David Troughton of The Norman Conquests in a small role. But man, I sure would love to see this again with subtitles. Rating: 2/5.

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