"Great cast, great dialogue, slow to make its point."
Suburban England – the commuter trains rumble as the balding bank managers play tennis and husbands mow lawns outside houses that look the same. But what happens when the lives of the occupants of one of these houses are suddenly turned upside down by an old friend who shows up and stirs up long repressed urges to rebel, sleep around and party? Will they stray? Will the marriage survive? And why is said ‘friend’ even there in the first place? These are the questions to be answered in Metroland, a sometimes funny, sometimes dramatic look at what’s wrong – or right – about suburban married life.Christian Bale delivers a typically strong performance as Chris, the loving husband that grew up wanting to be an artist in Paris, only to meet an English girl down there (Emily Watson) and end up back where he started in suburbia. As the story unfolds, his Parisian life is shown in flashback, complete with a torrid affair with a French girl (Elsa Zylberstein) that he now frequently fantasizes about. His wife knows that something is going on in her husband’s head, but there’s not much she can do about it other than wait it out.
The X factor in their midst, the long-removed friend Toni (Lee Ross), is a hard-drinking, hard-fucking teenage mind in an adult body. Constantly berating Chris for having sold-out and joined the middle-class, he eventually forces him to re-think about what he left behind when he abandoned the boulevards of Paris for the sidewalks of suburbia. But what will Chris choose – the carousing single lifestyle or the comforts of home? Well, if you were married to Emily Watson, what would you choose? Helloooo squishy tits!Directed by veteran TV movie director Phillip Saville, this is a film that, in lesser hands, could have turned out contrived and boring. Thankfully, due to some hilarious dialogue and stand out performances by Bale and Watson, as well as a glorious French cityscape, Metroland adds up to a compelling feature film experience.