Hot Potato, The (UK - BD RB)
Marcus tries to shift some stolen uranium in the 60s with Ray Winstone
Supposedly based on a true story, this story set in the Eat End of London in 1969 sees Kenny (Ray Winstone) and Danny (Jack Huston) come into possession of a lead lined box which turns out to contain a large lump of weapons grade Uranium.
Discovering the true value of their find via some of the East End's underworld, they embark on a quest across Europe and back to offload the 'hot potato' to the highest bidder.
This Ray Winstone film I thought I'd never heard of, suddenly popped into my memory when I saw Louise Redknapp's name show up on the opening credits. "Ahhhh it's the Louise film" I thought to myself. reminding me of the minor media coverage of the film early in its production. Anyway, Louise fandom aside (mainly because she's not in it all that much) Hot Potato has a lot going for it but never quite manages to click.
With the largely nostalgic spin, harking back to the British caper movies of the sixties, this plot of deals going wrong and down to earth geezers getting in a little too deep is light, fun and sort of charming for the most part. The mood often slips into darker territories when our heroes cross paths with the criminals but these scenes are largely ineffective. However there's something about a happy-go-lucky Ray Winstone and his sidekick Jack Huston that works and even with the slow pacing, the pair bring something charming to the project.
There are instances where the nostalgic look of the film highlights what is trying to be achieved here. East Enders taking on a dodgy deal is always fun in a British movie but there's just too much sitting around and talking here. The fun side of the caper never really comes alive and while I never wanted the film to go full comedy, there's a real sense the film should have more of a sense of humour than it does and it never seems to be utilised.
The warm sunny appearance of Hot Potato works very well for the era it's set in. Yellows and oranges glow off of the screen but it's not always the sharpest of images. There's rich colours and good detail throughout but the transfer is just missing a certain pop. Everything always looks and feels HD but it's still a little soft and edges are not quite as sharp as we've all grown used to. Make no mistake, this is a good looking presentation but it doesn't really have the bit of extra oomph to be considered a really great one.
Hot Potato is quite a talky flick so it's good that the dialogue is crisp throughout. It generally remains central and the
bouncy sixties style score sits along side equally as strong. Bassy trumpets fill out the track a little and the odd scattering of ambience fill out locations well but there's not a great deal going on here otherwise.
The extras are made up entirely of interviews in the 'Interview Gallery'. The main cast and crew all get a go within the thirteen selections and all the interviews run for 5-10 minutes. The interviews are quite raw and you can hear the questions asked off camera but there are a few nuggets of goodness in amongst the fairly straight forward Q&As
In the 'Also Available' section, we get trailers for Dead in France, Dead Man's Card, Panic Button and Truth or Dare
Hot Potato wasn't that strong but I liked a lot about it. A softer, older feeling Ray Winstone was sort of a delight and the lighter, funnier elements of the the unbalanced plot were also charming in places. The disc looks and sounds great but are far from something to show off about and the extras are just a batch of interviews. This one is kinda fun for Sunday afternoon but don't expect much in the way of thrills.
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 10th September 2012
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo English
Extras: Interview Galley, Also Available Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: Tim Lewiston
Cast: Ray Winstone, Colm Meaney, Jack Huston, David Harewood, Lois Winstone, Louise Redknapp
Genre: Comedy, Crime and Drama
Length: 99 minutes
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