Most wanted. Most wasted.
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Role: Judy Marks
Director: Bernard Rose
Co-Stars: Rhys Ifans, David Thewlis, Elsa Pataky, Christian McKay, Crispin Glover, Andrew Tiernan
Release Date: UK, October 8 2010 (theatrical)
MPAA Motion Picture Rating: This movie is not yet rated.
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The true story of a man who stumbled into a lucrative career as one of Europe’s biggest drug dealers. Howard Marks (Ifans) is a young Welshman studying at Oxford when he discovers in his dorm room a secret passageway leading to a storage space used by one of the school’s top marijuana dealers. Marks and the dealer strike up a friendship as he becomes an enthusiastic customer, and a few years later, when plans to bring a large cache of hashish into England via Germany goes haywire, Marks steps in to help. When he is then introduced to a circle of big league marijuana traffickers, Marks quits his teaching job to become a full time drug wholesaler, and while his new career costs him his first marriage, it also introduces him to Judy, who is to become the love of his life. As Marks’ business grows, he gains some interesting new associates, including an Irish Republican Army operative (Thewlis) who knows how to get past customs agents, an intelligence agent (McKay) working on both sides of the law and a wildly eccentric American marijuana kingpin (Glover), until Marks eventually and inevitably falls from grace.
Chloë Sevigny portrays Judy Marks, Howard Marks’ wife.
Quotations coming soon/not available.
• Although Chloë Sevigny, co-star Rhys Ifans and director Bernard Rose debuted Mr. Nice on March 14, 2010 at the SxSW Festival, the film is yet to be released in the United States. Meanwhile in the UK, the film premiered theatrically on October 8 and was released on Region 2 DVD and Blu-Ray in January 2011.
• The real life Howard Marks actually collaborated on the production of the film, and even appeared in e.g. the film’s UK trailer intro as well as at the film’s Edinburgh International Film Festival and London premieres. Judy Marks also contributed to the production of the film, but did not make promotional appearances. Howard and Judy Marks have been divorced since 2005.
• Upon the film’s UK premiere, many UK critics made a note of Chloë’s uneven British accent in the film, and Chloë herself has admitted she struggled with it while filming. She told Cinematical in March 2010, “[Filming] was very challenging, because I was also doing a British accent. I rehearsed on my own over and over again, but then Rhys of course improvised and I would have to try and respond in a British accent, with improvisation! It was very hard for me, I’d never done that before. But I really love Bernard, I think he’s a great filmmaker and it was really fun to shoot that way.”
• According to The Observer Magazine October 3 2010, Chloë actually met the real life Judy Marks at the end of filming. “I, well, we wanted it to come across as a love story and show how this man’s actions affected his family. It’s scary playing a real person. [...] Judy and I met at the end of shooting, which was a shame, because I think I could’ve made the character stronger if we’d talked earlier.”
Mr. Nice debuted at the SxSW Festival in March 2010 before premiering in UK theaters in October. As the film is yet to be released in the U.S., reviews on the film are relatively few to be had, however the available reviews on Mr. Nice have been mixed, tilting towards the negative. Although many reviewers have commended Rhys Ifans in the title role, the film itself has been described as “uneven” and “boring”, and many UK critics picked up on e.g. Chloë Sevigny’s British accent, which they noted as having been distractingly patchy.
Extracts from professional reviews:
“Rhys Ifans was obviously born to play Howard Marks and his superb performance is the best thing in the film, perfectly capturing Marks’ laid back likeability. However, the supporting cast is less successful -– Sevigny’s dodgy English accent is a constant distraction and Thewlis rather overdoes it as McCann, his performance eventually bordering on over familiar caricature rather than convincing as a real person. [...] Despite a superb central performance from Rhys Ifans, Mr. Nice is ultimately something of a disappointment, thanks to a repetitive, frequently dull script that fails to get under the skin(s) of its subject.”
- Matthew Turner, ViewLondon
“As with any rise/fall/recovery story, the biopic beats are deeply familiar, right down to the obligatory story thread which involves Marks’ wife Judy (an oddly misplaced Chloë Sevigny, in a perpetual battle with her English accent) at first enjoying the fruits of her husband’s shady labours, then suffering as he gets in too deep. [...] Likely sensing this, director Rose employs numerous stylistic tricks. The film opens in black and white, revealing naive-but-sharp schoolboy Marks still entangled in his poor, Glamorgan roots. Then, whaddaya know, as he tries his first blot of LSD at Oxford, the world unfurls into full colour. Obvious, yes, but it works well — as does Rose’s occasional mixing-in of stock footage. Even so, once you’ve dragged it down to the roach, Mr. Nice does remain a conventional crime biopic — although thankfully, we are at least spared an OD sequence.”
- Dan Jolin, Empire
“Though Ifans excels and Omid Djalili and Crispin Glover make welcome cameos, there’s something missing: an authorial voice to pick apart Marks’ endless self-aggrandising. As such, he ends up coming across onscreen as the unlikely lovechild of Robin Hood and Andy Dufresne. Viewers won’t leave with a bad taste in their mouths thanks to Ifans’ relaxed, cheeky, hard-todislike performance. But even his chilled swagger isn’t a thick enough smokescreen to disguise the lack of cold, objective insight. [...] Verdict: A faithful, fun but flawed adaptation of a shaggy-haired, shaggydog story.”
- Matt Glasby, Total Film
Coming soon/not available.
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