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Film: A Guy Fawkes in rock star's clothing

The Leading Man

John Duigan (15)

It's possible that the witty opening scene of invites expectations that few films of such modest intent could hope to meet. Robin (played by the singer Jon Bon Jovi) strolls through London listening to his Walkman, pausing to gaze wistfully at the Houses of Parliament. The writer and director John Duigan chooses this moment to reveal the song that's crackling on Robin's headset - "Burning Down the House" by Talking Heads. The sly smile on the young buck's face seems to confirm that this is a Guy Fawkes in rock star's clothes.

Although it's disappointing to find that Swan Vestas and anarchy don't figure in Robin's plans, he's no angel. He's an American film star in town to take the lead in a West End play, but from the moment he meets his pretty young co-star Hilary (Thandie Newton) and flashes those "you will be seduced" eyes, it's clear that he's more interested in adding to the notches on his bedpost than the awards on his mantelpiece. The film seems to be snagged somewhere between Pasolini's Theorem, Polanski's Bitter Moon and a Brian Rix farce, which accounts for the faint indigestion with which it leaves you. And any film which resorts to the swapping of prop guns - which one's loaded? which one isn't? - in order to whip up some tension, has to be said to be in an advanced stage of desperation.