Go to Castlebar
    review by Luca Brasi                   Full Review List

The Parole Officer

Hands up if you've heard of Steve Coogan! My God, he's funny! He's hilarious! He's fascinating! Oh, the stuff he does, my stars!

No. No, I have never seen anything Steve Coogan has ever done. Before seeing this film my experience of his work was hearing of his role in "24 Hour Party People" and a one-page profile in the RTE Guide. I don't know what Paul Calf or Alan Partridge do. But I do know that in this film he's funny as hell.

Simon Garden is a probation officer with the worst record around. While investigating the suspicious case around on of his parolees, he witnesses the connected cop, DI Burton (Stephen Dillane) commit a murder. Burton finds out and quickly makes a deal with meek Simon; if he keeps his mouth shut, Burton won't frame him for the murder. But Simon is too unsettled by all these sordid affairs, and he quickly arranges a plan to steal the security tape that proves Burton's guilt from a bank's vault. He enlists the help of the only parolees he's handled that have gone straight and launches his bank robbery plan with hilarious results.

No one style predominates in this film; some parts are intelligent witticisms, physical humour, silly situations, even the occasional crude joke (roller coaster scene; uuuggh). It all seems to work very well though, and it never gets tired. What I didn't like was the leading lady's role, with Lena Headey (oh she's gorgeous) as Simon's romantic interest. She seems to like Simon from the start for no apparent reason, and is quite willing to do anything for him no matter how much trouble she may get into. I mean, Simon's funny to watch but I can't imagine there'd be any woman who'd look at him twice.

All in all, this film may not be "Lawrence Of Arabia" or "Doctor Zhivago", but it's not trying to be. It's trying to be a silly comedy, designed to lift your spirits and make you laugh. And, happily, it gets away with it.

Castlebar     -     Latest Review     -     Full Review List     -     Cinema Listings