Movie review: Rest For The Wicked

By Peter Calder

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Tony Barry and John Bach in Rest For The Wicked. Photo / Supplied
Tony Barry and John Bach in Rest For The Wicked. Photo / Supplied

The director of this ultra-low-budget comic thriller is not long back from eight years in London where he compiled a long list of art-department credits. Casting around for a feature film idea, he was struck by how underused our senior thespian talent is: his solution was to set a film in a retirement village.

And he's rounded up all the usual suspects: a single shot I noted, which had John Bach, Tony Barry, Ken Blackburn, Ian Mune and Elizabeth McRae arrayed like birds on a wire, was typical.

This rather jolly film, written by advertising man Bob Moore, put me in mind of the kind of entertainments they put on in retirement villages, too. It has a teaspoon too much treacly whimsy but it is distinguished by a quirky and inventive visual sense and some smart editing, and is an entertaining if not original story idea.

Barry, looking disarmingly like retired detective Graham Bell, who hosts Police Ten 7 on the telly, plays retired detective Murray Baxter, going undercover to entrap his old nemesis Frank Henson (Bach), a plainly villainous rascal who is getting away with serial murder.

He finds himself in the Knightsbridge Gardens retirement village where he uncovers some seriously shady goings-on: bodies in the bath, illicit affairs and the rest-home doctor in cahoots with the cops to hush everything up.

If you haven't worked out what's going on by now you probably haven't seen Scorsese's film of Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island. No matter: the cast, including Rogers and Wood as a couple of dangerously randy septuagenarians, are having a hell of a good time.

Stars: 3/5
Cast: Tony Barry, John Bach, Ilona Rodgers, Irene Wood, Elizabeth McRae, Elisabeth Easther, Sara Wiseman, Ian Mune
Director: Simon Pattison
Running time: 71 mins
Rating: M (violence, sexual references)
Verdict: Growing old disgracefully


- NZ Herald

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