ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  anthony & joe russo

RATED  -  r

GENRE  -  comedy

LENGTH  -  90 minutes

RELEASED  -  4 october 2002

DISTRIBUTOR  -  warner bros.

OFFICIAL SITE  -  welcome to collinwood

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $12,000,000
welcome to collinwood - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from welcome to collinwood at

buy the dvd from welcome to collinwood at

five hapless misfits from the hard-luck streets of cleveland band together and try to pull off the greatest job they've ever heard of.

this movie had a budget of ten million dollars.


picture from welcome to collinwood

picture from welcome to collinwood

picture from welcome to collinwood


two out of four possible stars

The actors in Welcome to Collinwood sport an excellent combination of hilarious facial gestures and well-delivered dialogue which make its eighty-six minutes seem a few minutes too short. While the movie ends quite abruptly, the journey to get to the closing credits is a very funny one and owes a lot of its success to the physical comedy of its cast. It seems that the actors in this movie were cast specifically because they all seemed to have perfected "The Look," which is a pause in physical action in a film that elicits a laugh from the audience so easily when it's done right.

Collinwood has definite elements of a Coen brothers movie (even though the two had nothing to do with this film), but it also bears the mark of Steven Soderbergh, who in fact produced the movie. The fast jockeying of dialogue back and forth by a large, yet endearing, cast allows the audience to benefit from seeing a joke on screen every couple of seconds. Though the story doesn't always seem intense enough, the characters, but more importantly, the actors, give viewers a big reason to keep viewing. And the view is very interesting, given that there are no time stamps shown in camera.

It can most obviously be compared to The Royal Tenenbaums in appearance, as the characters seem to be living in the present, but their clothing smacks of a different era. In Collinwood, that era is the early eighties, or perhaps the late seventies. The dilapidated areas around Cleveland serve as the film's backdrop and make for what can only be called a "unique slum." Cleveland might rock on "Drew Carey," but in Collinwood, there's a recession and nobody has a job. The lot of characters assembled for this film is quite a pathetic list, but the actors bear the weight well.

It is impossible to single out any specific actor as being more talented in this film than his or her co-stars, so it would suffice it to say that everyone has their good points. Or perhaps it would be better to say great points. Playing the thorn in everyone's side, Luis Guzmán is the first character introduced to the audience. When he is arrested for trying to steal a car, he finds out about a huge stash of cash in a locked safe somewhere in town by a "lifer" that he shares a holding cell with. In his quest to get out of the joint and track down the money, he sends his girlfriend, "Rosalind," played by Patricia Clarkson to find a patsy to go down for his crime.

In her quest to help her boyfriend (who promised to marry her if the plan goes well), she involves five slightly inept crooks to steal the cash. The performances by William H. Macy, as a new father whose wife is in the slammer for fraud, Isaiah Washington, whose character hopes to get his sister married to a man in the suburbs, Sam Rockwell, as a boxer without much of a career, Michael Jeter, as a stinky homeless man, and Andrew Davioli as a thug with no opportunities in sight, are as varied as they are hilarious. The comedy on the screen is due more to these actors' good timing than the dialogue in the script.

In point of fact, the script could have gone deeper into the personal lives of the characters, rather than focus so intently on the heist aspect. If additional beats on the characters' psyche had been examined, the ending might not have felt so rushed. By far the most valuable element of the movie is the casting, though elements such as the cinematography and the soundtrack were well planned also. In point of fact, the set dressing, as discussed earlier as the mystery time zone, blended well with the cinematography, which wasn't revolutionary, but stable nonetheless.

A farce in the truest sense of the word, Welcome to Collinwood is full of likeable characters doing stupid things that look hilarious on film. While the depth of this movie is sometimes questionable, the moments when the film gets serious are well played. Though this film is first and foremost, a comedy, the dramatics on the screen are sufficient. The only grave mistake this film makes is in how abrupt the ending comes about. In five minutes, the climax of the film occurs and the credits start rolling. While it might be considered passé to see a "post script" about each of the characters that the audience has spent an hour and a half getting to know, some sort of follow-up still would have worked well for this film. But because the film doesn't suffer until the end, it is still easy to enjoy the entire run of it.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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