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Down Terrace
     

Down Terrace

Director: Ben Wheatley

Cast: Bob Hill, Robin Hill, Julia Deakin

 

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A family on the wrong side of the law has some serious business to attend to in this black comedy from British filmmaker Ben Wheatley. Karl (Robin Hill) followed his father, Bill (Robert Hill), into the family business, which in this case happens to be organized crime, and their

Overview

A family on the wrong side of the law has some serious business to attend to in this black comedy from British filmmaker Ben Wheatley. Karl (Robin Hill) followed his father, Bill (Robert Hill), into the family business, which in this case happens to be organized crime, and their occupational hazards become obvious when the two return to the family home after a few days in jail. Bill is convinced that one of their associates has been talking to the police, and whoever it is needs to be silenced as soon as possible, but first they have to figure out who is the snitch. As Karl and Bill ponder the likely suspects as their allies stop by the house to check in on them -- including well-connected Uncle Eric (David Schaal), shady nightclub manager Garvey (Tony Way), crooked politician Councilor Berman (Mark Kempner), and enforcer Pringle (Michael Smiley) -- Karl gets some unexpected news from his girlfriend, Valda (Kerry Peacock), who announces that she's pregnant with his child. Karl isn't certain he's ready for the responsibilities of parenthood, and Bill and his wife, Maggie (Julia Deakin), aren't very excited about being grandparents, but the upcoming addition to the family becomes a secondary concern after Bill decides he's figured out who's the rat in the organization. Down Terrace screened at the 2010 Slamdance Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
So deceptively mundane are the opening scenes of director Ben Wheatley's deliberately sinister Down Terrace that we may initially fail to notice the flames of hell licking the soles of our bickering protagonists' feet. But make no mistake, the monumentally dysfunctional clan at the center of this darkly comic crime drama is about to fall hard, and thanks to a skillful screenplay by director Wheatley and co-star Robin Hill, watching them do so couldn't be more engrossing. Freshly released from jail after serving a brief sentence for an unspecified crime, father-and-son criminals Bill (Robert Hill) and Karl (Robin Hill) return to their home in Down Terrace and begin the process of sniffing out the rat who sent them up the river. It could be anyone, though -- from ominous Uncle Eric (David Schaal) to portly nightclub manager Garvey (Tony Way) to shady Councilor Berman (Mark Kempner), or even toddler-toting enforcer Pringle (Michael Smiley), every one of their associates has enough dirt to land Bill and Karl in some seriously hot water. Meanwhile, as Karl contends with his longtime girlfriend's announcement that he is about to become a father, weather-beaten family matriarch Maggie (Julia Deakin) develops her own theories regarding the snitch in their midst. Now, with each fresh corpse that crops up, they've got one more name to scratch off the list of potential suspects. The talented cast of Down Terrace delivers Wheatley and Hill's cutting dialogue with such precision that their tongues seem to have been sharpened before every take. As distrust breeds paranoia and paranoia paves the way to disaster, it takes a certain measure of patience to appreciate the screenwriters' calculated approach to the material, though satisfying doses of pitch-black humor laced throughout ensure that no one paying close attention will likely notice the lack of action. It's the details that define Down Terrace anyway, and the screenwriters have been careful to pepper the dialogue with lines that reveal volumes about not just the characters who are speaking them, but those whom they are speaking to as well. This is the kind of film where a grown son's plea "I just want to be a normal father" warrants a stinging slap in the face from his outraged mother, who later tries to comfort her son by lamenting, "something went wrong" when he was born, and that "they couldn't help babies out like they do now." As if that weren't enough of an insult, baby Karl is nowhere to be found in the family photo album dating back to just after his birth, and his bullying father -- an embittered Timothy Leary wannabe -- all but explicitly blames his criminal lifestyle on his son in a delirious rant about his former days as a "head" seeking to expand his consciousness through the use of hard drugs. Artful vérité cinematography by documentary veteran Laurie Rose gives Down Terrace the look and feel of a reality television show depicting the lives of low-rent criminals, and an eclectic soundtrack featuring everything from traditional blues to experimental electronica and gentle acoustic guitar ballads helps the film maintain a unique, enjoyably off-kilter tone throughout. If Down Terrace is any indicator of things to come from producer Andrew Starke and the twisted folks at Mondo Macabro Movies, fans of unconventional cinema have plenty to look forward to as the studio initially known for distributing such wild, weird flicks as Lady Terminator and Mystics in Bali continues shifting its focus from distribution to production.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/18/2011
UPC:
0876964003599
Original Release:
2009
Rating:
R
Source:
Magnolia
Presentation:
[Wide Screen, Color]
Time:
1:33:00
Sales rank:
43,317

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bob Hill Bill
Robin Hill Karl
Julia Deakin Maggie
David Schaal Eric
Tony Way Garvey
Kerry Peacock Valda
Michael Smiley Pringle
Mark Kempner Councillor Berman
Kitty Blue Pringle's Kid
Gareth Tunley Johnny
Kali Peacock Mrs. Garvey
Luke Hartney Spitz
Janet Hill Mrs. Pringle
Simon Smith Bill's Band Member #1
Paul George Bill's Band Member #2
Simon Walker Bill's Band Member #3

Technical Credits
Ben Wheatley Director,Executive Producer,Screenwriter
Rob Entwistle Sound/Sound Designer
Robin Hill Editor,Executive Producer,Screenwriter
Andy Hoare Sound/Sound Designer
Sara Hunt Sound/Sound Designer
Henry Normal Executive Producer
Martin Pavey Sound/Sound Designer
Laurie Rose Cinematographer
Andrew Starke Producer
James Studholme Executive Producer
Pete Tombs Executive Producer
Joao Valle Sound/Sound Designer
Jim Williams Score Composer

Scene Index

Acting screen test; Extended scene; Deleted scene; Tricks of the amazing wizards; Down Terrace teaser/festival trailer; Commentary with Ben Wheatley and Robin Hill; "Rob Loves Kerry" short film

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