“Plunkett & Macleane” follows the exploits of two bandits who steal from English aristocrats in the 18th century. While the film attempts to act like a “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” for the 90s, the result is simply annoying.
The first offense is the overuse of synthesizer “techno” music throughout the film. Sure, I like this kind of music personally; however it seems so out of place in a period film that it instantly takes you out of the drama. The second offense is the MTV-style in which this film was shot which hardly allows any time to focus on the story. (Isn’t that quick-cutting “MTV-style” filmmaking kind of out of date? It seems so 80s.) The third offense is the dialog which clearly seems written with 90s phrases in mind. This device really stands out and makes you wonder if P&M was the director’s attempt at an experimental film. I’m surprised the cast didn’t shout out “You go girl!” The fourth and final offense is the director’s obsession with all things dirty – close-ups of mud, piss, rats, sores, wounds, cockroaches, feces. Sure, I believe that England was a filthy place back in the olden days, but do we really need this fact hammered into our heads in every bloody scene?!
The only saving grace is the cast. Johnny Lee Miller as Macleane seems like he would be better used in another film. Romantic lead Liv Tyler is gorgeous as usual, but like most of her performances, she acts like the scarecrow from “The Wizard of Oz” — you wish she had a brain. The person that is the most fun to watch is nutcase Robert Carlyle of “The Full Monty”, however as the secondary lead, he is hardly given anything to do. Bloody crap.