Faintheart (2008)

2011 #97
Vito Rocco | 88 mins | TV | 2.35:1 | UK / English | 12

FaintheartApparently MySpace had some hand in the creation of this movie. Remember MySpace? It’s what there was before Facebook. It was always rubbish, it just took a lot of people a long time to realise that. Anyway, some reviews seem to dwell on its involvement in the production of this movie — whole articles exist asking if it’s just a gimmick — but, looking at it as a finished film, I don’t know why: if you didn’t know (and, to be frank, even if you do) you’d never tell the end product had anything to do with that antiquated social network.

Faintheart isn’t about social networking… at least, not in any modern sense. It’s about battle re-enacters; or rather, it’s a Brit-rom-com that uses battle re-enacters as its USP. “Brit-rom-com” should give you a fair idea of the territory we’re in, although this has a geekier edge than most, which plays to the sensibilities of someone like me. One character owns a comic book store, for instance. It doesn’t play an overt part in the plot, but battle re-enacting stands in for any kind of niche pursuit. And it does make for a better-than-average climax. Swords always do.

Not-so-recognisable facesMost of the cast is drawn from the pool marked “British character actors” — you may or may not know the names, but you’ll probably know most of the faces. The lead is Eddie Marsan (Lestrade in Sherlock Holmes and A Game of Shadows; all sorts of other stuff, too much to even begin mentioning), his wife is Jessica Hynes (Spaced; all sorts), Ewen Bremner is his mate (Trainspotting; all sorts), Tim Healy (Auf Wiedersehen, Pet; all sorts), Anne Reid (dinnerladies; all sorts), Kevin Eldon (all sorts)… You may see a theme developing. And there are others, but they had even fewer things they were known for, or I didn’t recognise their names on the IMDb cast list.


Faintheart isn’t exceptional. Apparently it didn’t even get a theatrical release (though I remember someone coming on some chat show to promote it). Even if it was crowd-created through MySpace, that hasn’t made it something especially different, nor too stereotypical that it’s ruined. It’s not likely to be remembered in the never-ending pantheon of Brit-rom-coms, but for one with a slightly different edge I think it deserves better than it’s got.

3 out of 5

(I originally gave it four stars. Looking back, that felt generous. For once, I tweaked it. Guess I ought to go fiddle with my stats now…)

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