Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures) wrote,
Marcus L. Rowland

A Modesty Success

Watched My Name is Modesty, the newish Modesty Blaise movie, last night.

First of all, it's about a million times better than the first Modesty Blaise film (which isn't hard, of course), and treats the character with respect, with Alexandra Staden making an excellent Modesty. It's basically the film of the "In The Beginning" strip that's in several of the Modesty Blaise comic strip collections; Modesty's childhood, her job as a croupier and how she handles the death of the crime boss she initially works for. To make the situation more interesting this is combined with a hostage situation; the murderer and his henchmen take over the casino to loot the vault. Modesty has to buy time to resolve the situation, and does so by telling her story. There's more to it than that, of course, but I don't want to spoil the surprises. There's a combat scene that really does feel right for Modesty, and the personality is mostly spot on. The pacing could be a little better, but on the whole it seems to work.

The one big disadvantage is that the story is set so early in her career that Willie Garvin hasn't entered the picture; this means that the conversation between Modesty and the villain, and the story she tells, have to sustain most of the dramatic tension for 90% of the screen time, and to be frank the villain isn't quite up to it - he's good, but he's hardly in the Gabriel league.

Annoyingly this isn't available in a UK release; I got my (French) R2 DVD on eBay, there's a region 1 American version, and I think that's more or less it. Fortunately the French version still has the English dialogue as well as a dubbed track; there are a couple of captions that come up in French only (along the lines of "six years later"), but apart from that it's entirely in English.

Recommended, if only as a way of forgetting Monica bloody Vitti and the Blaise / Garvin duet...

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