Reviewer's Rating 2 out of 5   User Rating 3 out of 5
Bodywork (2000)

Virgil Guppy (Matheson) is having a bad day. He puts everything he has into buying a flashy second-hand car, only to find that the outward gloss hides a severely defective engine (a metaphor for this film perhaps, if it had outward gloss). Returning to the car lot from which he bought it he is given short shrift by the owner (character actor Michael Attwell, giving an impression of Frank Butcher).

Virgil takes him to court, and wins, but still finds himself out of pocket when the car lot is packed up overnight. Problems pile up for Virgil as a murdered prostitute is found in the boot of his immobile vehicle, and he is accused of her murder. Going on the run - as you do - he is knocked down, and then taken into hiding by the single mum and professional car thief who ran him over. Deciding he has nothing to lose he decides to turn to a life of crime, ignoring the fact that this is completely illogical, he is innocent of any crime, and his girlfriend (Winslet) is left baffled and concerned for his welfare.

And so the film twists and turns, in ever decreasing circles of charmless improbability. It is neither a credible thriller, a believable tale of suspense, nor a black comedy of any value, which makes you wonder what writer-director Gareth Rhys Jones was aiming for. Hans Matheson struggles heroically in the lead, though he is outshone by Charlotte Coleman as his car-stealing mentor Tiffany, and Beth Winslet in her first substantial movie role as his girlfriend. But there is not enough of either woman to distract from a silly story that gets into first gear, and stays there for its entire duration.

End Credits

Director: Gareth Rhys Jones

Writer: Gareth Rhys Jones

Stars: Hans Matheson, Charlotte Coleman, Peter Ferdinando, Beth Winslet

Genre: Crime

Length: 92 minutes

Cinema: 20 October 2000

Country: UK

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