If there is one underrated character actor in the world it is Richard E. Grant. Since his breakthrough role in Withnail and I, the actor has appeared in over 50 films and therefore has one of those faces that has audiences asking, "Where have I seen him before?" With a rubbery face and a remarkable skill with dialects, he seems comfortable with broad and dry comedy, serious drama and crazed villainy, all of which he's exhibited in films ranging from Spice World to The Age of Innocence. He has played the lead in quite a few movies, and carried them very well -- I especially like him in the little-seen A Merry War -- but he is most easily recognizable for supporting parts in which he tends to stand out. He was the one enjoyable part of Hudson Hawk (not that it was hard) and was a piece of the brilliant ensemble in Gosford Park.

After watching his directorial debut, Wah-Wah, I'd like Grant to stay in front of the camera. The film, which he also wrote, is not a wasted effort, but there is nothing about it that is evidence he should be making movies rather than stealing scenes in them. The only significance it holds is that it is based somewhat on his own coming of age in the South African country of Swaziland during its transition to independence from Great Britain. But that is only of significance to Grant, and not to viewers, who, if they are anything like me, could do just fine, thank you, without another cinematic memoir of alcoholic fathers and distant mothers and incoherent scenes that add up to a whole without a center.

categories Reviews, Cinematical