Wednesday, 1 April 2009

the Riddle

If I believed in crude conspiracy theories I might have enjoyed The Riddle the reason why I purchased the Mail on Sunday. I was curious because having previously viewed the first Brendan Foley Vinnie Jones film in disbelief, I wanted to see why the Mail had decided to invest in distributing a copy of their second collaboration

Free as a world exclusive. The film features a bent detective inspector, a bent senior Labour Minister, a corrupt newspaper proprietor, a corrupt developer who hires to murder and beat up, a union agitator who is one of the murdered, a beautiful drug taking celebrity girlfriend of a gangster whose death is faked and a heart of gold pub landlady is also murdered.

There are some great shots of London's former dockland from the banks of Newham looking across to the Canary Wharf and much time is spent on the banks of the Thames at low tide which Derek Jacobi inhabits as a tramp, although in attempting to make a thoughtful drama he also plays Charles Dickens telling us about his wife and her sister who lived with him for a time. Sir Derek is the one redeeming feature of the film. Vanessa Redgrave looks embarrassed about her part as the newspaper baroness who is not prepared to elevate Vinnie Jones from his lot as a reporter of dog tracks because he has ambitious to become a crime sleuth, just as he obviously has pretensions of being an actor.

The story is pretentious and unbelievable. The characters are caricatures and stereotypes, and the dialogue risible. So he frustrated investigative journalist in me decided to explore how this April Fools of a Sunday event has taken place.

The film is Directed and written by Brendan Foley and he has made three films with Vinnie Jones Johnny Was, the Riddle and Dog Body which is to come and one book Under the Wire a WW2 drama. He is stated to be an experienced investigative journalist.

He is said to have grown up in Belfast, Northern Island and written feature scripts in the UK, USA, Canada, South Africa and Thailand. He is said to have written books for USA and UK publishers and journalistic work includes feature assignments in 55 countries worldwide covering people, business and conflict ranging from features on bomb disposal inn Angola to clean up operations following the Exxon Valdez oil spill. He is said to now live with his partner, a writer and a singer in London and Santa Monica and previously ran a successful communications consultancy whose clients included Texaco, Coca Cola and Chevron, Mercedes Benz and the Hawker Siddeley Group. In commenting on why the Riddle was released through the newspaper he is quoted as saying it was a good way to launch the product. I think I should get him to represent my future financial best interests. Whoops, is it too late to say what a great film you have made Brendan. There sir, Give me some of the money., or perhaps I should also employ your PR people Robert Kirby of PDF in London and Melissa Read of Read Agency in Hollywood.

Now Vinnie Jones is a second tier hero of mine because in 1988 I watched his team Wimbledon defeat the mighty Liverpool in the FA Cup at Wembley. He is a man who has made the best of his abilities never straying far from his head banging, crazy horse Eastend kid on the make. After his successful appearance as a villain in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, I half expected him to turn up a Mitchell half brother in Eastenders! He has now appeared in over twenty films. That he has been a keen supporter of Dog Racing fits in well with his image, and the role in The Riddle. He now owns his own racing dogs, progressing to a thoroughbred horse. There are lessons to be learnt from the lives of Brendan Foley and Vinnie Jones who have both dared to change their roles in life successfully.

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