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'Never Let Go' DVD Review *** 091705
The Work = ***
The film follows a cosmetics salesman in Britain named John Cummings who is played by Richard Todd. Cummings is a serviceable enough salesperson up until his brand new car is stolen. It seems ‘ol Mr. Todd decided to save some cash and never had the vehicle insured. This mistake is gone over so much that the first have of the film could be used for a promotion for an insurance company.
Cummings is a funny man. 'Never Let Go' takes its time getting into the stronger second half of the movie and much of the first half is spent chipping away at Cummings. He where’s glasses when he goes on a sales pitch even though he does not need them. (He believes it helps make sales.) Now it probably will not come as much surprise that the character of John Cummings is ahem, “blind” to his own inadequacies. In a tired that comes in the second half of the movie his wife Anne (Elizabeth Sellars) unloads on him and explains that he never finishes what he starts. Oh, that and he often starts a lot of half-assed project.
His current “project” is tracking down and getting back his automobile (read: manhood) from corrupt car salesman Lionel Meadows played by Sellers. It seems Meadows has set up quite the operation. He has local youths steel cars bring them to his garage (which functions as a chop shop,) and they are repainted and outfitted with stolen plates and sold as new. Meadows is obsessed with cleanliness and routine and the more little things start to go wrong as Cummings keeps snooping around for his car, the more unhinged Meadows becomes.
There is much to like in 'Never Let Go' if you get into the film and it grabs you. If the film doesn’t (and for me it didn’t) it plays as a fairly routine drama with some nice performances and bang up conclusion. The thing is Cummings obsession with his car (again, read manhood) is so self centered that he has little care for the other victims of Meadows car theft ring or much sorrow for an old man he keeps placing in harms way. Everything is so on the nose in this film that it almost borders on comedy at times. Still, it does work and I enjoyed it while I watched it. (I particularly liked the way Meadows condescendingly referred to Cummings as “that little lipstick peddler.) In some respects this film reminded me a bit of Sam Peckinpah’s 'Straw Dogs'. (Minus the extreme violence and nudity of course.) Actually, at the time of its release, just like 'Straw Dogs', 'Never Let Go' earned an “X” rating. Recommended.
DVD = ***
All Together = ***
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