Film review

44 Inch Chest

44 Inch Chest

44 Inch Chest
Directed by Malcolm Venville
Starring Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Ian McShane

Despite the title, this is not a Robin Askwith tribute. The chest belongs to Ray Winstone, playing Colin Diamond, a geezer in meltdown, after the departure of his wife (Joanne Whalley). Though it could equally refer to the wardrobe in which the wife’s lover is imprisoned for half of the film.

Written by Louis Mellis and David Scinto, 44 Inch Chest isn’t a sequel to Sexy Beast. It plays more like Reservoir Dogs, scripted by Harold Pinter, with five men in bad suits exercising – not exorcising – their ire.

The chatter is confined to the murky room where Diamond’s compadres – notably Ian McShane as a menacing gay gangster, and John Hurt, channeling Albert Steptoe – curse poetically. Fantasy sequences puncture the claustrophobic mood, while offering a realistic depiction of how the jealous rage of a psychopath might unfold, allowing the possibility that the whole thing is a dream from Diamond’s unconscious.

Winstone hurtles, like a punch-drunk Hamlet, into a black hole of pathos. De-fucking-plorable fun.

Alastair McKay

Latest and archive film reviews on

Rating: 4 / 10

Opens January 15 / Cert 18 / 95 mins


Editor's Letter

Robert Plant, Tom Petty, The Beatles, King Crimson, Bobby Womack: inside the new Uncut!

Welcome to the new issue of Uncut! John’s on holiday this week – he was last seen disappearing into darkest Gloucestershire – so it falls to me to show you around this month's edition instead.

Our exclusive cover story finds us catching up with Robert Plant...