Tube Tales is an eclectic collection of short films from some new and some established talented actors, directors and other filmmakers. What unites the films is the setting - the London Underground train system. The plots of the films were developed from a competition to send in stories about life on the tube. It is a film collection of humour, whimsy, magic and tragedy.There’s nine films in all - we’ll quickly do an all stops tour. So quick! All aboard and Mind The Gap.
First stop in Mr Cool. Directed by Amy Jenkins of This Life fame. A man (Fletcher - Press Gang and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) tries rather unsuccessfully to woo a woman (MacDonald - Trainspotting) who intends to go off with another man (Flemyng - also from Smoking Barrels) - A decision she later regrets. This film sets the standard for the collection being funny, punchy and seeing someone getting their just deserves.
In Mouth, Daniela Nardini (also from This Life) plays a well-presented professional, hopping on the tube amongst a motley collection of commuters. She seems to be the only sane one about - until something happens. This is the gross out installment of the collection with the film’s humour being rather Monty Pythonesque. Hilarious. Gross, but hilarious.
In My Father The Liar, Ray Winstone plays a father who must lie to his son to help him cope with a tragedy. Winstone has been in Nil By Mouth, Ladybird Ladybird and The War Zone. If you are familiar with those films you will know that Winstone doesn’t play uppity light characters. In this film he is fantastic yet again in this Bob Hoskins-directed film which has a strange dream like quality. A quality we will see in later films.
A mother (Rachel Weisz - The Mummy) loses her child who’s wearing a rosebud red coat and frantically searches for her in Rosebud. Citizen Kane fans will spot the link with somebody searching for "rosebud." This film has a tender magical feel to it with the young girl’s idyllic adventure as she wonders a tube station on her own oblivious to her mother’s frantic searching.
A Musician (Nicholas Tennant) notices a lost travel authority card and the woman pictured on it. He then imagines seeing her through out his journey home in Bone. The film marks the directorial debut of part-time Australian resident, Ewan McGregor. For his first effort he discards the use of dialogue and instead uses music to convey the rather ordinary feelings of the musician.
In Horny, A young woman (Denise Van Outen) avenges the unwanted advances of a sleazy old man (Tom Bell - Prime Suspect). Unwanted advances on crowded trains are all too common and in this film we rank up a score for the women with the tool of embarrassment to score revenge. After Mouth, this is one of the most bizarre films in the collection. Bell gives quite a performance.
A Bird In The Hand sees another actor at the director’s controls for the first time. This time it’s Jude Law as he tells the story of an old man (Allan Miller - returning to acting after forty years) who stands away from the hustle and bustle of the commuting world to save some fragile beauty. Law captures the blinkered singlemindedness of commuting and tells us that occasionally we need to step off it to admire what’s around us.
In Grasshopper a paranoid drug courier (Frank Harper - another Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels alumni and was also seen in earlier Tube Tales My Father The Liar, A Bird In The Hand and Rosebud) is frantic in his bid to avoid detection of the gear he’s carrying. Fare evasion a dreadful thing. This has a great punchline and you end up feeling sorry for the poor blighter at the end.
For the final film two young lovers (Hans Matheson - Les Miserables - and Carmen Ejogo) steal a brief case from a car in Steal Away. There is a shoot out, but they escape to discover the case is full of cash, which they take to a disused tube line to take a strange train journey. This was the best of the films shown with its beautiful enchanting feel to it. Did someone say The Sixth Sense?
That’s it. The end of the line - all out, all change.Tube Tales is an extremely impressive piece of filmmaking. All of the films had something to offer unique in their own right yet also having a common bond between them. Tube Tales is a vehicle to show off some top British talent in afun and engaging way. If only commuting was this enjoyable.