Complicity (2001) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Tuna's comments in white:

Complicity (2000)  is a UK film that takes place in Scotland. As a matter of fact, it takes place in many of the most scenic locations in Scotland.  It is a mystery thriller about a young reporter, Jonny Lee Miller, who has a "deep voice" contact who is slowly feeding him information about a serial killer, and a conspiracy. Most of his co-workers think it is a hoax, but the police not only believe, but suspect that the reporter himself is committing the murders.


Keeley Hawes, who has been primarily a TV actress, and often appears in period pieces, shows all three Bs as a very modern and kinky woman.

DVD info from Amazon

  • anamorphic widescreen

He sleeps with his friend's wife, Keeley Hawes, whose husband provides everything she needs except kinky sex. The UK feels about violence the way the US feels about sex and nudity, so this film has plenty of exposure , but does not have the same level of gore and violence as a US release would. The plot develops a little slowly, and doesn't sustain suspense, but does resolve into a plausible conclusion. Miller's character, Cameron, is the only one truly developed.
Scoop's comments in yellow:

Complicity is basically an attempt to make a Scottish version of SE7EN, filled with "righteous" murders that fit the victim's sins, including the literal disarming of an arms dealer, and the literal butchering of an incompetent doctor who is a butcher with a scalpel.

I don't know much about director Gavin Millar. He's in his mid 60's and directs mostly for TV. His only notable film credit is a movie that I found oddly compelling - Dreamchild - the story of Alice Hargeaves, the little girl who was the model for Alice in Wonderland. At age 80, she looks back on her childhood and tries to reassess the true nature of her relationship with Lewis Carroll. Ian Holm turned in one of his characteristically brilliant performances as Carroll.

I wish I could say that Mr. Millar brought some of that talent over from that film into this one. I think that he probably misfired badly here. He had spectacular, rugged Scottish locations to shoot in. His source was a lurid Iain Banks novel that mystery fans were drooling over. He had good performers and a very sexy woman willing to do frontal nudity and kinky sex. But the film formed nothing with that excellent clay. As Tuna said above, there is little suspense. There is also very little audience involvement with the characters, and some choppy editing which makes the narrative clumsy. The focus is often wrong - important points are brushed over lightly, while irrelevant bits receive much screen time.  Worst of all, the tone doesn't seem right. While David Fincher knew how to make the biblical deaths seem grisly and frightening in SE7EN, similar deaths seem campy here, thus turning the whole film away from SE7EN and steering it in the direction of Dr Phibes.

Couple that with some often incomprehensible Scottish dialects, and the fact that I didn't understand how it ended, and it all adds up to a movie which is not very compelling.

I did love the location photography, however, and I thought Keeley Hawes was sexy.

The Critics Vote

  • Apollo 70/100

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters say 5.1/10, Apollo voters 64/100
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, Tuna says, "C+. I have seen much worse mystery/thrillers". Scoop says, "C or C-. Some good points. Decent basic storyline, nice photography of great locations, decent performances. But it's also mundane, sometimes choppy, not especially suspenseful, not very intriguing. I never got hooked in. Bottom line: A film for genre buffs only."

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