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20 April 2014

Blu-ray Review - That Sinking Feeling (1979)

Release Date:
21st April 2014(UK)
Bill Forsyth
Tom Mannion, Eddie Burt, Richard Demarco,
Buy:That Sinking Feeling (Remastered) (BFI Flipside) (DVD + Blu-ray)

That Sinking Feeling is the debut film by Bill Forsyth who later would direct films like Gregory’s Girl and Local Hero. Forsyth remains the most noted director in Scottish film history. Forsyth would later try to make it in Hollywood with Being Human (starring Robin Williams) but the film was re-cut by Warner Bros. against his wishes. He would later make a sequel to Gregory’s Girl but quit the industry pretty much but in recent years has said he is working on a new film.

The story concerns a ragtag gang of Glaswegian unemployed youths trying to make some money. They decided on a robbery of dozens of sinks so they can sell them. Two of the gang dress up as women to attract the guard’s attention while the rest of them performs the robbery.

The Guinness book of world records at one point had That Sinking Feeling as the cheapest feature length film ever made. Most of the budget went on meat and booze as you would expect from a Scottish film. The budget certainly shows, he mostly just contacted many companies and banks about investing into the film and many gave him some money. Notably Irn-Bru didn’t give him any money and he got his revenge on them with the film’s last scene.

The film didn’t work for me at all; it’s a bit of a bore despite the 90-minute running time along some unfunny humour. The cast is a mixture of locals and some of them are either too old for roles or too young, which is really distracting. It lacks the juvenile charm of Forsyth’s follow-up Gregory’s Girl that similarly was dubbed in the US with “posh Scottish accents” due the incomprehensible Glaswegian accent for American audiences. They should have done the solution the distributors did for Trainspotting, which just added subtitles.

The film has it’s fans in Mark Kermode (who does the commentary along with Forsyth) and Belle & Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch. BFI has done a lavish package with short films Forsyth worked on in various roles though the 70s and interviews. The Blu-Ray transfer is grainer than the usual Blu-Ray but it’s obviously the best the film can look considering it’s budget.

Ian Schultz

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