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'Plunkett & Macleane'

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 1, 1999

  Movie Critic

'Plunkett & Macleane
Johnny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle star as "Plunkett & Macleane." (Gramercy)

Jake Scott
Robert Carlyle;
Jonny Lee Miller;
Liv Tyler;
Michael Gambon;
Ken Stott
Running Time:
1 hour, 42 minutes
Contains violence, strong language and sexual scenes
The frustrating thing about this movie isn't just what it is (no darn good), but what it could have been: an amusing, witty, ribald story about highwaymen, featuring two members of the lively "Trainspotting" team. Unfortunately the British film, based on two real-life characters (including "Gentleman Highwayman" James Maclaine), seems to be trying to transplant the collective spirit of William Goldman's Butch and Sundance into these supposedly lovable, mid-18th century rogues. It just doesn't work.

These characters aren't inspired enough to merit that level of playfulness – or our support. The story, by scriptwriting highwaymen Robert Wade, Neal Purvis and Charles McKeown, has more success evoking the time and place of the story, than building a great story itself. And a romance between Plunkett and a certain Lady Rebecca Gibson (Liv Tyler) seems designed merely to get an American star in the cast. Carlyle is usually the best thing about any movie, but his swaggery performance goes over the top this time. He seems to be trying to imitate co-producer Gary Oldman.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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