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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > British > Keeping Mum (2005)

Keeping Mum (2005)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: C+     Film: B-



There used to be a distinction to British feature film comedies in their tone, boldness, daring and cleverness that distinguished them from comedies made in other countries and by British TV.  Too many feel good and feel bad dramas, plus overproduced would-be blockbusters have severely cut down the production of such gems, but Niall Johnson’s Keeping Mum (2005) is one of those films and it has its moments.


There is a triangle of conflict developing between a graceful pastor (Rowan Atkinson, showing he can be as funny restrained as he is outrageous in Black Adder and as Mr. Bean) and his wife (Kristin Scott Thomas in one of her best roles in years) when she starts having an affair with an American golf instructor (Patrick Swayze in his best work since Donnie Darko).  The couple has a “nice old lady” housekeeper (Maggie Smith) who could be a Mary Poppins or Phoebe Figalilly from Nanny & The Professor.  When she finds out about the affair, it becomes more like Serial Mom!


I was impressed by how this comedy just kept on going and going.  Everyone is funny and the comic timing is as impressive as the dialogue by Richard Russo and Johnson.  I wish this film had gone even further and may have even missed some more opportunities for irony and hilarity.  What is here is still more impressive than most would-be comedies I have seen lately and if you need a few good laughs, Keeping Mum should be your next DVD.


The 1.78 X 1 image is not bad, has some nice color and the locations are a plus.  There is hardly any digital manipulation, which works to the film’s favor and Gavin Finney, B.S.C., deliver some memorable moments in his cinematography.  The soft style of the opening flashback scene is the only part that rings a bit phony.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 has some good ambient surrounds, the occasional solid ones and a decent music score by Dickon Hinchliffe.


Extras include some amusing outtakes/bloopers, Johnson’s audio commentary, original Rosie Jones opening with commentary, Extended “Walter In Goal” scene, bonus scenes with more commentary and a behind the scenes featurette entitled Big Trouble In Little Wallop.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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