Edited down from a three-hour, three-part miniseries, family pic "I Was a Rat" offers an appealing fantasy concept (from Philip Pullman's children's book) that's somewhat wet-blanketed by ponderous execution. Good cast and solid production values will make this a marketable rental and tube item nonetheless.

Edited down from a three-hour, three-part miniseries, family pic “I Was a Rat” offers an appealing fantasy concept (from Philip Pullman’s children’s book) that’s somewhat wet-blanketed by ponderous execution. Good cast and solid production values will make this a marketable rental and tube item nonetheless.

Spin on the Cinderella legend (setting here is vaguely 1930s Britain) finds a baby rat-turned-pageboy (Calum Worthy) accidentally left behind when kitchen maid-turned-royal-ball-attendee Aurelia (Katie Black) answers her midnight call. Stuck as a human child, dubbed Roger by the sweet elderly couple (Tom Conti, Brenda Fricker) which takes him in, the guileless rat-boy suffers through a series of sometimes perilous adventures — being exhibited at a sideshow, captured by medical scientist, etc. — before being reunited with his benefactress, who’s set to marry her prince (James Millard). Latter duo’s dull scenes and lack of energy or flamboyance makes for tepid viewing, despite story’s considerable potential. Design and tech aspects are pro.

I Was A Rat

Canada-U.K.

Production

A BBC and Catalyst Entertainment production. Produced by Paul Brown, Andrew Rowley. Executive producers, Nancy Chapelle, Kevin Gillis, Elaine Sperber. Directed by Laurie Lynd. Screenplay, Richard Carpenter, adapted from the novel by Philip Pullman.

Crew

Camera (color), Gerald Packer; editor, Brett Sullivan; music, Nick Bicat; production designer, Venita Gribble. Reviewed at Mill Valley Film Festival, Oct. 5, 2002. Running time: 98 MIN.

With

Tom Conti, Brenda Fricker, Calum Worthy, Katie Blake, James Millard, Ned Beatty, Stephen Ouimette, Don McKellar, Sheila McCarthy, Karl Pruner, Edward Fox, Gerard Murphy.
Want Entertainment News First? Sign up for Variety Alerts and Newsletters!
Post A Comment 0