Incendiary (2008) starring Michelle Williams, Ewan McGregor, Matthew Macfadyen, Nicholas Gleaves, Sidney Johnston directed by Sharon Maguire Movie Review

Incendiary (2008)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Michelle Williams in Incendiary (2008)

May Day Alert

I honestly don't know how I feel about "Incendiary" as on one hand the story of a mother feeling guilt because she was having an affair when her family were killed is quite good but the way it comes across is too melodramatic and unsubtle even convoluted. Now some may point the finger of blame for this at director Sharon Maguire who previously directed the rom-com "Bridget Jones's Diary" but I am not sure it is all her fault. But whose ever fault it is "Incendiary" suffers because it tries to be too dramatic which has the knock on effect of making it at times a bit too full on.

A young mother (Michelle Williams - Brokeback Mountain) living in a London council flat dotes on her son but is deep down unhappy with her life especially with her marriage to Lenny (Nicholas Gleaves) whose job with the bomb disposal unit makes him unhappy as does living in a council flat. When she gets picked up by rich journalist Jasper Black (Ewan McGregor - Miss Potter) she embarks on a passionate affair with him but it comes with consequences as whilst enjoying a steamy sex session on her couch a terrorist bomb goes off at the Arsenal football ground where her husband and son are watching the game. As she tries to grieve Jasper discovers the identity of the bomber and the bomber's wife leading to her going to see them, firstly watching from a far then befriending the bombers son. But are things as simple as they seem when a colleague of her late husband's shows an interest in her and Jasper gets jealous.

Ewan McGregor in Incendiary (2008)

When "Incendiary" starts we are quickly immersed into the life of the young mother, never given her name, and we come too understand things very quickly; she loves her son and he loves her and her marriage to Lenny is troubled. It is here that we have the first of a recurring problem because it is less than subtle in establishing this and so it doesn't take a genius that the happy, innocent and frankly adorable child is going to end up a victim of something sooner or later. The lack of subtlety spreads through out the entire movie from her husband Lenny returning home moody every day to the over the top out pouring of grief as London mourns with barrage balloons raised over the city with faces of lossed loved ones printed on them. It is a shame that things end up too melodramatic as the basic story itself is good.

Now some of that lack of subtlety is good, the scenes at the football stadium in the aftermath of the bombing whilst short are powerful and surprisingly brutal. But then to counter balance that the actual sex scene between Lenny and the Mother borders on soft porn. That is the trouble with "Incendiary" as it is the rollercoaster ride of unsubtle melodrama which dominates things rather than the story of what the mother will do in her grief and what Lenny will do as he tries to probe into the events and how things will pan out for those who are concerned for the mother.

Acting wise well Michelle Williams and Ewan McGregor work well both together and separately delivering interesting characters. But again the lack of subtlety when it comes to their character's actions makes them far too often feel unreal.

What this all boils down to is that "Incendiary" ends up an interesting drama but one which struggles under the weight of far too many unsubtle, melodramatic moments.