In addition to boasting one of the quirkiest titles in movie history, Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise is a riotous showcase for the formidable talent of Timothy Spall. One of the finest character actors to emerge from England in the 1980s and '90s, Spall gave great performances in Life Is Sweet, Secrets and Lies, and Topsy-Turvy (all for director Mike Leigh), and made memorable appearances in Vanilla Sky, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and many others. Here he plays Tommy Rag, a vile, uncouth salesman, determined to win "The Golden Vac" award as England's best door-to-door peddler of vacuum cleaners, unaware that his disapproving boss has sabotaged his chances of winning the coveted prize. Filmed on digital video, this over-the-top BBC-TV comedy was director Danny Boyle's rough-edged rehearsal for 28 Days Later, and its ragged visuals are entirely appropriate for Jim Cartwright's screenplay, which probes the desperate economy of England while plumbing the depths of Tommy's maniacal motivation. There's rich social satire to be found in this delirious mess, but the main pleasure comes from Spall, playing an ethically challenged lout on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Think Willy Loman with apoplectic road rage, and you've got the right idea. --Jeff Shannon
Overbearing quick edits, make a mediocre movie even worse I bought this movie because I am a HUGE fan of Danny Boyle's work. His early work (Shallow Grave and Trainspotting) are some of my favorite films. I am highly awaiting his newest film, Sunshine, and am also a fan of his take on the zombie genre, 28 Days Later. So when I saw that Danny Boyle had directed this "hilarious" film, I decided to give it a chance. When it starts, I only hoped the whole movie didn't look horribly pixilated. To my dismay, the rest of the film did indeed look like this. Unnecessary angles, quick cuts, and a horribly jumpy plot line make this an atrocious film. Shame on you, Danny Boyle....more info
Great Brit Film This is a great off the wall film. Good BBC production. Highly recommend. ...more info
It sucks...but it's a living The title of this review doesn't refer to the film, but to the noble profession of selling vacuum cleaners, further ennobled by the door-to-door approach. Marauders of the working class homefront, these sales blokes (it's a British film) pounce with ferocious, rapacious glee on the unsuspecting denizens of modularized same-look-in-every-unit apartment buildings.
One such--indeed, king of sales-driven ferocity--is Tommy Rag, an overweight, overwrought maniac whose own motivational tape (i.e., he recorded it himself)--"Sell, sell, sell, f**king sell, f**king sell"--is set to heavy metal music. This is one of numerous hilarious pleasures of this intensely manic made-for-TV (BBC) film directed by Danny Boyle. Played by Timothy Spall, Rag is anything but ragtag, but does manage to rag unto near-nervous breakdown his new protege, Pete (actor Michael Begley), a rookie salesguy who transitions from "mixing cassettes for teenagers" to selling vacs, all the better to insure that his stripper girlfriend won't leave him.
The script by Jim Cartwright is perfect, and is matched with Boyle's perfect direction to deliver a short (75-minute) film that couldn't be any longer and retain its power without flagging/fragging the viewer. Spall is nothing short of miraculous here, an unstoppable force that seemingly only hurricane Ivan might bring down. His intensity is so palpable you can feel yourself quaking, shaking, and roaring every time he makes an appearance (which is, in fact, most of the film).
A comic bash that pounds and astounds, Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise deserves a wider audience and more than makes up for Boyle's disastrous The Beach (w. Leonardo di Caprio; brilliant cinematography is its only saving grace) and lackluster A Life Less Ordinary. This is a 2001 film and let's hope it signals Boyle's return to the intelligence and power evident in his first film, Shallow Graves.
Definitely recommended. Guaranteed to induce hearty guffaws.
Astonishingly hysterical performance by Timothy Spall! I'll always have fond memories of this movie. I first saw it at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival, just 3 days after 9/11. You won't find a much tougher crowd for a comedic movie to premiere to than the one assembled for this particular screening, but such is the power of this film's dark humor that it was able to evoke convulsive laughter even from an audience this somber.
Danny Boyle, who soared with the British films SHALLOW GRAVE and TRAINSPOTTING, then fell on his face with the Hollywood duds A LIFE LESS ORDINARY and THE BEACH, got back in form with this effort, reborn of the freedom that digital technology affords today's daring (and invariably under-financed) filmmakers. He's obviously fascinated with the limitless possibilities for camera placement that the technology affords, embedding miniature cameras all over the sets to permit individual scenes to be viewed from a rapid-fire succession of perspectives. His editing and music skills, combined with stellar camerawork by noted dogme cameraman Anthony Dodd Mantle, results in a raw, exciting new `dogme-MTV' type of look ... a look that Boyle put to good use in his subsequent hit, 28 DAYS LATER.
But `look' alone cannot make a movie. You still need a script to work with, and Boyle is blessed here with an outstanding one from Jim Cartwright. The story is nothing less than a bold and brilliant comedic re-conceptualization of Arthur Miller's DEATH OF A SALESMAN for the digital age. And unlike Miller, Cartwright doesn't play coy with what the salesman is actually peddling -- you know right from the start that it's vacuum cleaners.
The `surrogate' character in this film is a likeable young slacker named Pete (Michael Begley) who loves dance music and has some mixing talent, but hasn't been able to carve out any kind of career in the music biz. His girlfriend has to perform strip-o-grams in order for them to make ends meet, and they both want out of this situation in the worst way. The girlfriend's plight gets especially humiliating one night when she performs at a retirement party for a vacuum cleaner salesman, and on a suggestion, Pete decides to pursue a career in this profession as a way out for both of them.
Enter the most blazing, mesmerizing, maniacal lead performance by an actor in many a moon. Pete is made an apprentice to star salesman Tommy Rag, played with incredible over-the-top intensity by veteran Timothy Spall. If there was an ABSOLUTE `best actor' award for the BEST performance, period, in a given year, Spall would have been my hands-down choice for 2001. He makes EVERY ruthless salesman in movie history (Kurt Russell in USED CARS, the gang from THE BOILER ROOM, etc.) look strictly `soft sell' by comparison. This is truly a performance for the ages ... ONE THAT NOBODY WITH A SALES JOB SHOULD MISS!
You may think that you've seen the `rookie paired with vet' thing done to death in the movies, both in dramatic and comedic contexts, but I can assure you that you've never seen anything even close to the `eye or the hurricane' variant that Boyle has come up with here. What he's managed to pack into little more than an hour's running time is astounding ... a fully realized comic tragedy of Shakespearean proportions that manages to be relentlessly and mercilessly funny....more info