Aside from the mainstream indie “Ghost World” (distributed by MGM, which has also finally released the unscreened “Original Sin” today), the only other independent movie on rollcall is “Greenfingers,” a Brit comedy loosely based on actual events involving some hardcore convicts moved to a low-security rehabilitation prison, where a group of the hard-as-nails blokes gain attention for their award-winning garden.The opening shots of landscape put to shame the worn out and probably multi-generational print of the preview. The main protagonist (Clive Owen) is seen in the opening sequence breaking into a flower shop, eluding the police, and then giving himself up. Only after some elementary set up of where and why he and the others were in prison, it is explained why he has purposely returned there. The horticultural episodes are a pod of fun to watch without any serious excitement, as it then veers off into the habitual love story mode of transport between the protagonist horticulturist and a famous gardening expert’s (Helen Mirren) daughter, Primrose (Natasha Little), who does not share her mother’s talent (“I’m afraid in my case, the apple fell far from the tree”). Writer/director Joel Hershman is too thematically inclined to forget the inclusion of a deflowering, though it is most certainly nothing racy or explicit. (Yet after awhile, he does completely ignore her character and her suitor, one of the convicts, who never receive any resolution whatsoever.) Owen and main co-star David Kelly, both recipients of Muskewitz Awards — Owen last year for “Croupier” and Kelly in 1998 for his supporting role in “Waking Ned Devine” — do nothing here to cause them any embarrassment to themselves. Neither of the two actors take or make the room for their top-notch skills to shine, but in the right soil with the right amount of sun and water, they grow into their respective roles satisfactorily. The cataleptic ending (only followed by explanatory text) leaves it on a nicely unextravagant note, but resting right up against a thorn insofar as the upshot appears to be uprooted and abandoned, or buried too deep to weed its way out.
With Warren Clarke, Danny Dyer, Sally Edwards, Adam Fogerty and Paterson Joseph.Final Verdict: B-.