thu 23/01/2020

Tucked review - dispiriting British drag queen drama | reviews, news & interviews

Tucked review - dispiriting British drag queen drama

Tucked review - dispiriting British drag queen drama

Danny la Rue's ghost returns to haunt Brighton's piers

Painted on smiles from Jordan Stephens and Derren Nesbitt

It would be great to herald this low-budget drama about an elderly drag queen and his friendship with a young gay singer-songwriter as a little gem of British indie cinema. But Tucked, which aims to be an odd-couple tale of heart-warming redemption, is pretty dispiriting with its slow pace and predictable plot. 

We first meet Jackie belting out ‘I Will Survive’ wearing inch thick make-up and heels. He's telling tired, misanthropic jokes about sex in a nightclub. He's the oldest tranny in town and even before the titles appear, he's being told that he has terminal cancer and weeks to live. Jackie decides to spend his final days doing what he loves - performing his act - and seeking redemption through mentoring a younger gay artiste, Faith. He's homeless and sleeping in his car because his penchant for false eyelashes and sparkly cat-suits has resulted in his family rejecting him. Jackie's daughter doesn't want to see him since he was found wearing her mother's wedding dress.

Shot in Brighton, the seaside locations and a couple of well-framed exterior sequences don’t compensate enough for cramped interior scenes in Jackie's flat and the club. The thin script by writer-director Jamie Patterson cries out for another more nuanced pass and a deeper exploration of straight men who cross dress and gender politics. While it's admirable that Patterson made Tucked on a shoestring budget and filmed it in ten days, the haste means that cracks show throughout the movie and not just in Jackie's makeup.

Derren Nesbitt gives an impressively physical performance for a veteran character actor in his eighties but sadly Quentin Crisp wasn’t writing Jackie's lines. Best known as a British character actor specialising in good-looking villains, Nesbitt played the über-Aryan Major von Hapen in Where Eagles Dare. But he is unrecognisable here as Jackie in wig cap, thigh-high white leather boots and grotesque maquillage. Jordan Stephens (one half of Brighton hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks), tries to swerve away from sentimentality as Faith, introducing Jackie to the joys of coke and joining him in beating up homophobic bullies. But still soppiness seeps through as estranged families are reconciled and Faith blurts out, 'You're the cross-dressing granddad I always needed'. 

The thin script cries out for another more nuanced pass


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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