From writer Simon Beaufoy (“The Full Monty”) comes this film based on his first completed screenplay.
Ray (Pete Postlethwaite) and his band of friends are a bunch of blue collar hippie throwbacks in the town of Sheffield, England. Ray and his best friend Steven (James Thorton) would rather spend their time climbing the famous cliffs outside of town than work. Together, the group specializes in small, high-pay, high-risk jobs, usually under the table that allow them to screw around the rest of the time. When Ray gets the assignment to paint a long series of electrical towers along the Yorkshire Moors, the group has a tight deadline before they’re turned back on.
Into this group wanders Australian drifter and mountain climber, Gerry (Rachel Griffiths). Steven, the local lothario is immediately aroused, but the aloof Gerry develops an interest in Ray, instead. While the feeling’s mutual, and both have a need for the rush of adrenaline, with Ray’s emphasis on safety over Gerry’s recklessness, her search for definition probably doesn’t end here.
This is an amiable enough film, but definitely not the same beast as “The Full Monty”. The characters’ loneliness drives them to rash decisions, but nothing that can’t be fixed. Your enjoyment may hinge upon your fondness for adrenaline and the hippie mystique, but the characters’ actions ring true. Even Ray, at middle-age, has a couple of things to learn about responsibility. Ray, Gerry, and Steven all learn from this experience but only one really changes their path from the start. The rock climbing seems to be a metaphor for knowing where to stay and when to move (and not fall on your head). Over all, the film’s a nice, adult story about adult decisions and how often do we get a movie like that, these days?