director: bill eagles
rachel weisz, susan lynch
|.||There was a time when English movies depicted a world
of proper, snotty aristos and humble, striving proles, a land of stunning
country vistas, tough working-class ghettos and elegant city homes, in
London at least. The Britain of New Labour and meritocracy, however, produces
films like Guy Ritchieís Snatch and Bill Eaglesí Beautiful Creatures,
films where sheer criminality has replaced class as the nationís tragic
Beautiful Creatures is set in a sleek, stylized Glasgow, where Rachel Weisz and Susan Lynch play Petula and Dorothy, women with definite men trouble. More specifically, the men they live with -- indeed, every man they meet, cop or suit or junkie -- is a seething, violent thug. In the course of one, terrible night, they learn to fight back, and the filmís body count begins with Petulaís howling, abusive boyfriend.
Thereís a joke that the body count of the average British film today far exceeds the actual murder rate of the country itself. If all British men were like those that beset Petula and Dorothy, it wouldnít be hard to see why.
Essentially a re-write of Thelma and Louise that doesnít leave Glasgowís dreary suburbs, itís a taut, well-acted film that stacks the cards in the womenís favour by making every man they meet a leering self-abuser or a seedy, criminal creep, eager and accustomed to ignoring the law, with the law's apparent complicity; no wonder they donít, for a moment, think they can plead self-defense. Itís a manís, manís world -- but not for long, I imagine, if all British women were like Petula and Dorothy.