Deviation Review: Dyer And Dyer

February 24, 2012 by  
Filed under - Home, Film Reviews

On General Release Friday 24th February

Imagine how you would feel if an escaped convicted serial killer took you hostage and bound you to the front seat of his car, and began driving you to a remote and desolate area.

Imagine if on the journey you watched him brutally kill three men, each of whom would have been your last vestige of hope for escaping your captor’s wicked clutches. Imagine that every time you tried to escape he’d either hold a rusty blade to your throat, or lock you in a metal cabinet with the skeleton of his last victim, still in its school uniform.

Well, all this truly would be a joyous and merry road-trip when compared to the reality that is watching Deviation, which is essentially a tedious simulation of being trapped in a car with Danny Dyer for 86 minutes. Doing all of those things. As well as his signature tawkin’ like a geeza throughout. Bladdy aufentic, mate.

Dyer does the required snarling, lusting and yearning all with the same idiotic grin on his Acting Face when he occasionally remembers to pretend to be a disturbed homicidal maniac for a few minutes. Most of time, he is just a rather cranky East End cabbie. He delivers his lines with characteristic thoughtful subtlety: “Behave yourself or I’ll give you an Algerian smile…nobody survives it, fuckin’ nobody”, he snarls, grinning like how he presumes a crazed-killer-type would, making you want to wipe the smile off his hammy little face, Algerian or otherwise.

Beaming away, he switches nimbly to sinister mode, asking his captor if she wants “a little treat” from the petrol station. “What choclit d’you want?” he asks, like a moron. Oh just a Crunchie for me, Danny, and a mouthful of diesel for you. And he can do sensitive, too: “friendships, relationships, it’s never forever…” Which, to be fair, is surely an inimitable and heart-breaking truth WHEN YOU’RE DANNY DYER.

But Dyer-bashing is too easy, and his character, Frankie Norton, does have a way with knives, so he is perhaps best left unprovoked. Anna Walton plays Frankie’s prey, the unfeasibly calm and level-headed nurse, Amber. She just sits there quietly, almost as if she actually wants to sit beside Danny Dyer for longer than 13 seconds, slightly rolling her eyes as she is roughly clamped to a car-seat by a bloodthirsty stranger, and occasionally saying things like “just fuck off, Frank, all right?” as if she’s just returned from a long day at A&E and he has berated her for not remembering the milk.

The setting is predictably Gritty™. Set in London during the early hours, there are lots of bins inexplicably full of fire, those common fox corpses and human skulls you often find in suburban backstreets, and a scowling multitude of hoodies, night-workers and drug barons deaf to the victim’s pleas.

All of Amber’s escape plans are ludicrously scuppered. She writes a note and chucks that on the road. A mysterious white van man shoves it down a drain. She escapes, twice, but gets out of breath and needs to rearrange her hair, and anyway, it’s embarrassing to go knocking on people’s doors in a residential road, so had better not. So he catches her again. Her phone is thrown out of the window – cue a traumatic close-up of Blackberry remnants (Curve, White) scattered across the tarmac. Finally, the police corner them, but then a motorcyclist who has a penchant for Frankie’s “work” knocks the policeman out cold, and apparently pepper spray doesn’t really work in films.

Ultimately, the audience is torn between pitying each actor for being given such a weak script and wearisome plotline to work with, and silently praying that they will finish each other off.

Follow Anoosh Chakelian on Twitter

StumbleUpon It!


  1. Nick Bamber says:

    This is a very misleading, intellectually dishonest review! I have seen the film and It is actually much better that this reviewer would have you believe. Beyond the boring, snobby Danny Dyer bashing, this reviewer is so determined to destroy this film that she goes as far as providing spoilers throughout this sorry excuse of a review.

    Even better she totally distorts the events in the film in her eagerness to destroy the film (for ex., there is NO drug baron in this film, most of the story is set at night, etc.) But then again she is no real reviewer as she works as an intern on this site. Oh, and she also has to toe the line as her boss Jez Sands wrote an equally misinformed, vicious review on another movie website…

    Ah, the state of journalism in the UK today!

  2. Nick Bamber says:

    Ooooops. Looks like that Mr. Sands isn’t the man who wrote that bad review of the film on that other website. Very sorry and apologies to Mr. Sands. However, I stand by everything I wrote about Ms. Chakelian’s “review”.

  3. Jez Sands says:

    Firstly, Anoosh might be an intern here at OTB but she’s a freelancer for The Telegraph, so I very must resent the implication that she’s not a “proper” journalist. I also stand by Anoosh’s writing and trust her to make judgements about the films she sees – I have never and would never insist that any of my writers “toe-the-line”; what she writes is what she thinks.

    I haven’t seen the film but Anoosh hasn’t misrepresented anything – there’s a drug dealer at the beginning of the film who gets knifed, so it’s certainly not “intellectually dishonest”. Frankly, all reviews are just opinions and in this case, it seems that general consensus is with us. Deviation holds a coveted 11% approval on Rotten Tomatoes at the moment.

  4. linda says:

    i saw this film and i didn’t see a drug dealer but someone who was in prison with frank who was a “nonce” and had a taste for little boys i believe. Typical danny dyer bashing as always.

  5. Nick Bamber says:

    How can you say that Ms. Chakalian’s review is honest? She is entitled to not like the film but she is seriously misrepresenting the contents of the film. There is NO drug dealer in the film: watch the end of that scene to understand what Frankie buys from the guy she calls a drug dealer.

    “lots of bins inexplicably full of fire”? That’s 2 incinerators, not bins, in a scrapyard.
    “those common fox corpses and human skulls often found in suburban backstreets”? Make that a dead fox in a swamp (not a suburban backstreet!). And I am afraid there is not ONE skull in a suburban back street in ANY part of the film.
    “scowling hoodies, night workers, drug baron deaf to the victim’s plea”? Erm, there is no drug baron. As for the hoodie and the night worker? They DO try to help the victim. So that’s another serious misrepresentation.
    And I could go on: the guy shoving the “help” note in a drain is NOT a white van man; the victim escapes once, not twice; the victim can’t knock on people’s door because the only time she escapes, she finds herself in a deserted industrial area…
    On and on and on.
    Conclusion? This is an intellectually dishonest interview which jumps onto the Bash Danny Dyer bandwagon (note Ms. Chakalian’s horribly snobby, condescending tone towards Mr. Danny Dyer.) Sorry.

  6. Nick Bamber says:

    And I wouldn’t trust Rotten Tomatoes that much as they tend to give a rotten tomato to a mixed review (ie: a review which says bad and good things about a film).

    As I have said, I have seen the film. It has its flaws but I thought that for a low budget film, it was a brave enterprise. In fact, it is actually a taut, claustrophobic thriller in which Danny Dyer’s performance as a schizophrenic was actually scary. But, as you say rightly, this is just a matter of opinion.

    What I do resent is reviewers fibbing about the contents/events in a film. This reflects badly on Blog On The Box and the state of journalism in the U.K.

  7. Nick Bamber says:

    Dear Mr. Sands, Thank you for publishing all the comments above. This certainly reflects very well on Blog On The Box as in: you are a believer in fairness and integrity in journalism (unlike many of your peers.)

    As you can see “linda” above confirms what I say: there is no drug dealer (or baron!) in this film. I have not pointed out all the examples of misrepresentations in DEVIATION but the ones I did are entirely true.

    So you know, I am a real movie fan/buff. I watch every film going and I am a great supporter of British films (of all kinds!). I am neither a fan nor a “hater” of Danny Dyer. Like all actors, he has made good and bad films…

    As for Miss Chakalian’s “review”, she is entitled to dislike the film or Danny Dyer but not to the point of distorting/inventing facts or mocking Danny Dyer’s Cockney accent to support her point of view. In any case, she should know that a journalist’s number one rule is to get facts right. She didn’t. Based on this, her write-up is a shambles. Worse, she is letting you as editor, Blog On The Box and journalism at large down. And that’s a great shame.

    Regards, N.

  8. Anoosh Chakelian says:

    Hi Nick,

    I’ve read your critique of my critique (this is becoming rather postmodern…), and I take your point that the character at the beginning, although he held drugs in his hut, may not have been a drug dealer and I was mistaken – I apologise for this, but I did not misrepresent the character knowingly (therefore was not being intellectually dishonest). I genuinely thought he was one, my mistake.

    As for your other corrections – I’d like to say that the definition of a “white van man” is not that his van is necessarily white – this mystery man was certainly in a van. She escaped his clutches twice (perhaps you thought I meant from the car?) when they were running around, and runs past a row of residential houses (I have this written in my extensive notes from the film – at the time I was planning how I would escape in that situation myself!), there is a human skull in a cupboard (remember the school girl?) – admittedly this is not in suburbia, but it is in a conspicuous hut in a backstreet off the motorway, where I personally doubt a skeleton would reside undiscovered. Also the hoodie who escapes doesn’t call the police (which I see as rather irresponsible), and the night workers (the workmen she runs towards) do not try to rescue her.

    I have used some hyperbolic language and pointed out some of the further-fetched parts of the film, that is true, but I have not been dishonest. I find your “drug baron” point valid, but feel it is rather unfair of you to accuse me of letting journalism down.

    I won’t continue arguing and nitpicking, but do guide yourself to other reviews of mine on this site, and you will discover that I am not intellectually dishonest.



  9. Nick Bamber says:

    Hi Anoosh,

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my posts. I actually happen to like the film so I have seen it twice and being the true movie geek that I am, I am a sucker for details! Again I find your points misleading. So, with all due respect to you, I have to say that you are getting everything wrong:

    1 – Nowhere in the scene it is shown that the guy holds drugs in his hut and there is no talk of drugs in the scene either. Not sure how you can say that the guy is connected to drugs.

    2 – You talked of “skulls in a suburban street”. Untrue. In fact, it is not a skull, it is a skeleton in a cupboard. Not quite the “skulls in suburban street”, is it?

    3 – The guy who shoves the victim’s note in the drain is not a “White Van Man” but a mini-cab driver driving a VW car. Listen to the messages coming through his radio from his controller. Oh, and unlike the White Van Man in the film (a short stocky guy), this mini cab driver is tall, slim and bald. Quite how these two characters were muddled up in your review is baffling at best, suspicious at worse.

    4 – The Hoodie does try to save the victim by shouting at the psychopath to let her go and then pulling a knife on him. On this point, it was nice to see a filmmaker not subscribing to clichés about hoodies… I agree with you that this might not be the best way to help the victim but, unlike your claims, he is certainly not deaf to the victim’s for help. Please see the film and listen carefully to the dialogue.

    5 – The Night Worker does try to save the victim. First by attacking the psychopath with a stick and then attempting to call the cops on his mobile. As for the other “night workers”, they can’t hear her screams for help because a) they are too far away and b) they are drilling something (ie: the noise is too loud for them to hear her.). All very plausible, if you ask me.

    6 – The hut you are mentioning is not off a motorway at all. In fact, both the psychopath and his victim are never seen travelling down a motorway. Furthermore, this hut is isolated, at the back of some kind of wasteland and boarded up so very difficult to access as it is at the back of a swamp. So it’s perfectly possible that a skeleton would be left undiscovered for so long. Thankfully you are not defending your previous assertion about “common fox corpses found in suburban streets”. That was plain wrong.

    7 – The victim escapes from the car once, I am afraid. That’s in the mid-section of the film. And no, she never stops to “rearrange her hair” as you claim in your review. And no, she doesn’t run anywhere near residential homes. She is lost in an area at the back of Battersea Power Station (there is a big shot of the building in there) full of empty factories, warehouses and office blocks. The clue? Two travelling shots of dark, broken windows of each side of the street…

    Need I go on? Not really. Your review is very clear in its intention: you are no fan of Danny Dyer obviously. Otherwise why mock his cockney accent in a rather condescending, horribly snobby way? Or go after him in such a personal way? So you decided to crucify the film by making it look / sound as ridiculous as possible. How did you do that? By seriously misrepresenting the events in the film or even inventing stuff that doesn’t even happen in the film. Of course, getting one or two facts wrong is human. But getting so many facts wrong does constitute (in my eyes) very sloppy, if not suspicious, journalism. Hence why I called your review very (sickeningly?) dishonest. Unfortunately (and I apologise to you for saying so), I stand by everything I say in my posts.

    Regards, N.


    PS: Your review has made me so upset that I have actually got in touch with the writer-director of the film via the distributor. Sad you might think but such is the life of a true movie geek!

  10. Dude says:

    This Is A Good Thriller Movie! From Beginning To End. I Don’t Understand Why Someone Is Writing A Critic About A Movie, When They Are Not Like The Genre. Its Like When A BritPop Fan Have To Write A Review About A Hardcore Rap Group. Of Course They Will Write What A Crap.

    A Dude From Germany