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You're Dead review

Pulp Fiction meets Monty Python, anyone? Thought not. Although it's an inevitably coveted poster quote, You're Dead is hardly a savvy hybrid. It's more an overlong custard-pie fight of multiple ideas and steals - - a promising set of brainstorm notes in search of a film.

The Pulp Fiction (and Go) comparisons begin and end with the relentless cut-up style: flashbacks, hop-forwards, scenes repeated and retold from different perspectives. It'll leave you longing for a good, old-fashioned beginning, middle and end. The overstretched ambition is also exposed in an utterly idiotic wind-up twist and some sloppy production values (Maitland 20 years ago is clearly nothing more than Maitland today with bigger sideburns and a flowery shirt).

Old Unmade-Bed Face is as watchable as ever, but he's mostly along for the ride. Ifans is rapidly developing a healthy reputation as a flexible character actor and, although he maintains an understated menace in the early scenes, he soon mutates Eddie into an overplayed gobshite. Schneider, great in bite-sized TV-comedy form (you'll recognise him from I'm Alan Partridge and The Day Today), just seems bemused.

To be fair, writer/director Hurst is still in his mid-20s and, despite the lack of storytelling discipline, he does lather the thing with an undeniable exuberance. But why, oh why, can no-one in Brit-made films speak in anything other than a ludicrous, sledgehammer-subtle, pie-and-mash splutter (""Oi downt geev a FACK abaaat the maneeja, just get the FACKEEN' maanee!"")? The campaign for a lively heist flick set in Dudley or Chippenham starts here.

Looks good on paper, and with a tweak, a tuck and a rewrite, it could well have been a Lock, Stock pretender contender. Now, if Hurst can just get more ruthless with the runts of his idea-litter, we might have a bona fide Tarantino-come-lately on our hands.

A brash, ballsy caper alive with ideas and leaking cine-literacy, only trying so hard it hurts. Not bad for a writer/director debut, but, minus the class and presence of Hurt, we'd be dangerously close to Sky Premier territory.

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