House! review

Director Kemp has really pushed the boat out with his feature debut. Despite the shoestring nature of things, he and Junkmail cinematographer Kjell Vassdal clearly weren't willing to churn out just another bland comedy ready to be picked up by TV if it failed to make it into cinemas. Oh no, they wanted to make a movie.

The opening Western pastiche - - with four little old grannies striding gunslinger-style through rain-splattered back lanes en route to the bingo hall - - sets the adventurous tone. The plot may be predictable (if very enjoyable) but the boys behind the camera see no reason for letting that hold them back.

Watch out for the gorgeous, long sweeping shots around the bingo hall, a touch of reverse zoom, some really stylish snappy cutting and a beautifully executed flashback scene. Bung in the vibrant, almost garish, bingo hall colours and it's all somewhat strangely reminiscent of Scorsese's The Color Of Money... And how many comedies set in the Welsh Valleys can you say that about?

As far as the cast goes... Well, Macdonald is simply lovely as Linda, the girl with the bingo gift. Recovering some of her old Trainspotting form and nailing that Valleys' accent, she manages the always appealing trick of being both sweet and sexy. Mean-while, old stagers Margoyles and Jones bring class to the supporting oddballs, more than compensating for a flat performance from This Life refugee Hughes as lippy bingo caller Gavin.

So what if the sudden rush towards a happy ending causes bits of the plot to fall apart? So what if there's a tiny cameo from Keith Chegwin? So what if Wales has yet to become the new rock 'n' roll? You can easily forgive the minor flaws in some-thing this sweet, funny and lovingly put together.

Amusing, touching and packed with balls. Don't let yourself be put off by the setting or the subject: House! is as warm and silly a film as Britain will produce this year. And Julian Kemp is definitely a director to watch.

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