“On my command, unleash hell.”
Starring: Colin Firth, Rupert Everett, Russell Brand, Toby Jones, Talulah Riley
Eye candy: Gemma Arterton, Caternia Murino, Mischa Barton, and a bunch of high school girls. I know that makes me creepy.
Directors: Barnaby Thompson, Oliver Parker
Run time: 101 minutes
DVD distributor: Alliance Films
“Houston, we have a problem.”
There are an awful lot of lines in St. Trinians that come from other movies and seem trite. Or silly. Or even awful. There is virtually nothing in the film that we haven’t seen in other movies. And the movie is sadly and painfully PG-rated. However, it is good. Very good. It’s a teen movie, and it’s a girly movie, but it is an awful lot of fun and I was surprisingly and thoroughly entertained. St. Trinians comes out August 11th from Alliance Films, available in a single-disc edition or packaged together with 17 Again. Please don’t get the two-movie package. 17 Again is nowhere near the caliber of this clever and surprising British film.
“Be afraid, sir. Be very afraid.”
Annabelle (Talulah Riley) is a young girl whose father drops her off at St. Trinians, an all-girls boarding school with a bad and dangerous reputation. Apparently St. Trinians is an old film series in Britain leading back to the 50s, and these characters should be familiar to certain British folk in the audience. Not me though, and I found them to be fresh and fun and just badass enough. As Annabelle gets acquainted with the school, we see girls being dragged behind tractors, others being hung over bannisters, and general craziness and misbehaviour that would not be out of place at a prison riot.
St. Trinian’s never takes itself seriously, so the violence and bad behaviour and possible murders are always dealt with extremely lightly and for comedic effect. The school has the standard cliques – the hot chicks, the goth chicks, the jocks and the nerds and the so on and so forth. Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace, Rocknrolla) provides the main eye candy in the film, as the smoking hot, harsh and sexy Head Girl. In fact, there are a lot of hotties in this film, which is vaguely creepy for a high-school-girls movie, but also extremely standard.
Rupert Everett, who also produced the film, appears as two different characters – Annabelle’s effete, callous and awful father, and the scatter-brained, boorish headmistress of the school. Yes, Everett is in drag. Also memorable is Russell Brand, who shows up at the school several times, as the girls are all involved in his seemingly extensive criminal enterprise. They distill vodka for him, and make other products, which he then sells. His occasional appearances are the best part of the movie. And Colin Firth is pretty good as the Ministry of Education man intent on shutting down the school.
“You can so see why Colin Firth wanted to shag her.”
But it’s the girls who carry the film, even though the script and plot are pretty standard and tired. Arterton is a fantastic ice queen as the head girl, there are two hilarious little girls, twins, who are demolitions experts, and every girl is memorable in her own way. The bank wants to shut down St. Trinian’s, and the girls must come up with 500,000 pounds to pay the bank to save the school. They decide to steal the famous painting Girl With A Pearl Earring which will be on display at a nearby museum. And in order to get into the museum, they must win a series of scholastic trivia contests.
All of this sounds pretty boring, and pretty usual, and pretty cliched. And it is. But thanks to the girls and a genuine sense of silly devil-may-care film making, St. Trinian’s rises above the dreck from which it sprang. It isn’t revolutionary. It isn’t, really, politically incorrect either. It doesn’t really push any buttons or break any boundaries. But it did make me smile. And sometimes that’s all I want from a movie. St. Trinian’s delivers.