Faintheart – A rom-com for geeks!
I’m aware that this review is of a film that you have probably never heard of. However that’s what makes it worthy of a review in the first place. Faintheart is an unusual collaboration between Vertigo films, Film4 and Myspace (yes: I really do mean the social networking site). The Daily Telegraph has its history in more detail here.
It seems that an open audition arrangement (for the crew) was made in an attempt to include Myspace users into the film-making process. This then, is the first of its kind. Made on a relatively small budget it promises to be a romantic comedy. For me though, it was a great deal more than that. This is one of the few romantic comedies which is genuinely funny!
A romantic comedy set in the world of battle re-enactments, about an irresponsible guy who has to shape up in order to win back his wife.
When you mention the words “battle re-enactments” you may start to yawn and steer clear of such geekiness. However I would urge you not to as the geek-factor in Faintheart makes for some excellent comedy moments.
In the lead role is Eddie Marsan. You are unlikely to know the name but don’t be fooled. He was the amusing (but quite scary) driving instructor from Happy-Go-Lucky. He plays a man who has recently lost his wife (Jessica Hynes) to the stereotypical bad man/Physical Education instructor (played by Paul Nicholls).
Okay so the script so far is not likely to win originality awards but it does something that many other “rom-coms” don’t. It manages to be entertaining (and even geared for) men and women. For some reason most rom-coms only aim for the latter demographic, which is a shame as the sappy amongst us of the male contingent feel left out (apparently).
Perhaps it manages to be appealing to men due to the toning down of the romance and building up of the comedy. Marsan is accompanied by his best friend (whom is only regarded as “Tiberius) played by Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting). Bremner’s role is extremely well played for comic effect and manages at one point to overshadow that of the main character’s problems.
The only let down in the acting stakes of Faintheart is that of the “romance” between Jessica Hynes and Eddie Marsan. It seems that perhaps too little time was dedicated to the actual romantic scenes.
All of these rom-coms have a moral to the story and Faintheart is no different. Be yourself! There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with that but when you spend all of your weekends hitting a dressed up man in a field, then perhaps it is time to tone down that philosophy!
Overall Faintheart is very much like its poster: silly but a lot of fun! I would have preferred Hynes to play a more dominant role in the film but am glad with the result. I have yet to tell you the best part of this review though and that is the fact that if you go to the official website here, you can download Faintheart for £5 (if you live in the UK). So the true question is: “Faintheart: is it worth the £5 it costs to buy it”? The answer of course is a resounding “yes”. It seems strange to me that Three and Out seemed to get so much attention despite being complete tat and yet this film slipped through unnoticed.
As a romantic comedy Faintheart focuses on the “comedy” aspect perhaps a little too heavily. However can this really be considered a bad point? I like to laugh as much as anyone and really enjoyed it. The casting of Bremner and Marsan were both excellent choices and if only to see Bremner’s Klingon foreplay you would get replay value (it’s not as awful as it sounds).
Rating: 4 out of 5