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Beautiful Creatures

The public must have an unyielding appetite for crime films, or at least filmmakers think they do. Or maybe it's just that crime films are easier to make than most other types, especially for filmmakers strapped for cash yet trying to make a reputation for themselves. Beautiful Creatures is another one of those British crime films like Shallow Grave or Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels designed to announce the arrival of its creators, but it proves to be derivative without the zest of its predecessors. Something of a British Bound, with a little Mortal Thoughts and Sticky Fingers thrown in, Beautiful Creatures concerns two women who join together over crime. Dorothy (Susan Lynch, kind of a Scottish Andie MacDowell) has a rogue boyfriend who beats her and whom she is trying to get out from under; Petula (Rachel Weisz, in a blonde wig) is living with her boss, who beats her. Dorothy and Petula meet one night when the recently abused Dorothy rescues Petula from another trashing from her boyfriend. When the bad boyfriend ends up dead, Dorothy comes up with the idea of demanding a ransom for him, rather then revealing his death. Their scheme seems to go OK but for the return of Dorothy's ex-boyfriend (Iain Glen) at an inconvenient time, and a corrupt cop (Alex North) who perceives what's really going on, likes the looks of Petula, and decides he wants a piece of the action. Directed by Bill Eagles, from a screenplay credited to Simon Donald, Beautiful Creatures is not as clever or funny as it could or should have been, and is yet another one of those movies that forgives criminals as long as they are essentially good people inside. Universal's DVD release offers a flawless anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) with audio in both Dollby Digital and DTS 5.1, with English and French subtitles. Extras are a minimal theatrical trailer, production notes, and cast and crew credits. Keep-case.
—D.K. Holm

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