Clockwise is a somewhat uneven comic road film. John Cleese plays the headmaster of a secondary school whose main trait, obsessive timewatching, turns out to be a strategy to dam up the natural disarray of his personality.
Film’s plot is triggered when Stimpson (Cleese) misses the train for a headmaster’s conference over which he has been invited to preside. Immediately panic-struck, he seeks some other way to get to the meeting on time.
The best moments depict his gradually going to pieces as he struggles to complete his journey in the company of an abducted schoolgirl (Sharon Maiden) and former girlfriend (Penelope Wilton).
Clockwise would be a bore were it not for Cleese’s comic ability, which derives from broad expressive gesticulations and expressions which mark the simple man still trying to control his world long after he has gone over the edge. Christopher Morahan’s direction, in his first feature since the late 1960s, is adequate.