Review: ‘Dirty Weekend’

Michael Winner aims low and half-misses with Directorty Weekend, a jet-black genre-bender of femme vengeance from the 1991 British bestseller by Helen Zahavi. Those expecting a female, Anglo version of Winner's earlier Death Wish outings will be disappointed. Weekend is more rooted in everyday drama than high-octane thrillers.

Michael Winner aims low and half-misses with Directorty Weekend, a jet-black genre-bender of femme vengeance from the 1991 British bestseller by Helen Zahavi. Those expecting a female, Anglo version of Winner’s earlier Death Wish outings will be disappointed. Weekend is more rooted in everyday drama than high-octane thrillers.

Setting is Brighton, where the introverted Bella (Lia Williams) has moved after being dumped by a b.f. in London. Renting a small basement apartment, she’s soon prey to an obscene phone-caller (Rufus Sewell). After an empowering visit to an Iranian fortuneteller (Ian Richardson), she brains the peeper with a hammer in his bed one night. High on the experience, she sets out on a weekend killing spree of male porkers.

Winner’s version (scripted with Zahavi herself) is most successful when sticking closely to the original. The movie’s first half-hour largely hangs fire with dreary exposition and lackluster dialogue. Thereafter, pic sticks slavishly to the novel, with whole chunks of dialogue and v.o. by Williams that conjure up much of the book’s blackly comic tone and irreverent approach to highly PC, feminist issues.

As the worm who turns, newcomer Williams tent-poles the movie with a fine perf that catches the work’s bitter-sardonic tone and pulls off some tricky dialogue.

Dirty Weekend

UK

Production

Scimitar. Director Michael Winner; Producer Michael Winner, Robert Earl; Screenplay Michael Winner, Helen Zahavi; Camera Alan Jones; Editor Arnold Crust [= Michael Winner], Chris Barnes; Music David Fanshawe; Art Director Crispian Sallis

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1993. Running time: 102 MIN.

With

Lia Williams David McCallum Ian Richardson Rufus Sewell Shaughan Seymour Sylvia Syms
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