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With: Amber Heard, Billy Bob Thornton, Jim Sturgess, Theo James, Cara Delevingne, Jason Isaacs
Written by: Roberta Hanley, based on a novel by Martin Amis
Directed by: Mathew Cullen
MPAA Rating: R for sexual content/nudity, language throughout, some violence and drug use
Running Time: 118
Date: 10/26/2018

London Fields (2018)

1 Star (out of 4)

'London' Spoil

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Based on a novel by Martin Amis, this shabby, wildly uneven neo-noir is a total mess, coasting on the surface of several cartoonish characters as they interact without rhyme or reason — or purpose.

In London Fields, femme fatale Nicola Six (Amber Heard) has a premonition of her own murder, at the hands of one of three men. One is terminally-ill American writer Samson Young (Billy Bob Thornton), who has come to London to do one more book; he decides to tell Nicola's story.

She, meanwhile, begins affairs with the two other potential murderers, the clean-cut, wealthy, married family man Guy Clinch (Theo James) and the scuzzy, volatile would-be darts champion Keith Talent (Jim Sturgess). Talent also owes tons of money to gangsters like Chick Purchase (Johnny Depp). As Nicola twists the men around her little finger, the situation becomes more unstable, and her murder appears imminent...

Directed by music video maker Mathew Cullen, London Fields is partly stylish, mainly in the opulent apartment occupied by Samson Young, and in the many slinky, stunning outfits worn by Nicola Six, but it's mostly scraggy and nasty-looking in a most unpleasant way. The characters occupy the unrealistic spaces uneasily, and none of them even seem to be human, let alone possess the ability to connect with any of the others.

As Samson works on his book, there is talk about whether Nicola will be a one-dimensional character, and, in the movie, she actually is, along with everyone else. Her actions are purely based on her looks and charms. There never seems to be a point, and nothing else happens.

But at least Heard is a decent femme fatale. In his role, Sturgess overacts horribly, looking like a walking scab, his mouth perpetually open in a scowl, revealing yellow teeth and a flicking tongue. Even scarred, accented Johnny Depp is subtler here. As if unsure of what else to do, the director throws in a dance sequence (set to the tune of Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing"), followed immediately by an FX-driven drug-trip sequence. None of it comes together.

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