They say they're looking for gold - but what they're really searching for and what they find will surprise even them. Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones are Andy and Lance, two friends who find common ground as part of the Danebury Metal Detecting Club. Their dream is to uncover the final resting place of King Sexred, a wealthy East Saxon King. But while they search for the past, they must also grapple with the present. For Andy that includes trying to keep his head above water with Becky (Rachael Stirling), his long-standing girlfriend. For Lance it's trying to win back his ex-wife Maggie, from the local take-away pizza manager. Both of them face an invasion of their turf by rival detectorists the Antiquisearchers. It's an uphill, down dale, over field and around the meadow struggle. But they know at heart in a buried world of tin can pulls and toy cars, there's something waiting that - if only they could find it - would change their lives forever.
- Detectorists: Series 1 review by JD
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You rated this film: 4
The main plot is the most gentle of English comedies. An inward smile for some quiet moments of pathos. This main plot is the interaction between 2 early middle aged men walking through country side in the Summer. Both are underachievers but in an accepting way. There are other plots which don't work so well. A very tolerant partner, a divorce, rival clubs and a club that is full of nerds. The acting is generally outstanding, the atmosphere/cinematography excellent, the plot average, the direction shaky.
Raiders Of The Lost Pocket Change
- Detectorists: Series 1 review by Count Otto Black
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You rated this film: 3
This show, despite being fairly obscure, seems to get nothing but rave reviews. Not knowing what to expect, I personally found it disappointing. It's clearly an attempt by Mackenzie Crook, who also wrote and directed, to play to his frankly limited strengths as an actor while trying to escape from being typecast as creepy weirdos like Gareth from "The Office", therefore his character Andy is essentially Gareth's non-evil twin, an equally nerdy and obsessive guy who happens to be a nice, totally harmless man whose life revolves around amateur archaeology rather than trying to be Rambo.
On the plus side, Andy and his best friend Lance, played by the excellent Toby Jones, have extremely convincing on-screen chemistry, and the scenes of them wandering across the English countryside talking rubbish while seeking that ever-elusive Saxon horde of gold, but alas, only finding worthless junk, are 4-star material in a 2-star program. They're seldom laugh-out-loud funny, but in a gentle, rambling sort of way, they're consistently amusing. As stand-alone sketches, they'd work just fine.
Unfortunately, here they're set in a framework which doesn't quite gel. The subplots involving these mens' love-lives tend more toward angst-ridden melodrama than comedy, and are sometimes downright mawkish and/or depressing. Given the already understated comedy of the officially funny scenes, that lowers the average when it comes to laughs. I suppose that's why random zaniness sometimes pops up in an otherwise realistic setting. Totally unrealistic portrayals of severe mental illness are always good for a laugh; so good that there two unrelated wacky loonies to double our fun! And what about those two guys who look and dress exactly like Simon and Garfunkel c. 1970, apparently without intending to? Mackenzie Crook must think that's the funniest joke ever, judging by the number of times he reminds us of it.
Other problems include a story which, instead of being episodic as you'd expect, has all the subplots proceeding over a stately 3 hours. Given the inconsequentiality of the material, at times the pace becomes absolutely glacial. In the scenes where our heroes wander around metal-detecting, this doesn't matter, because the whole point is that nothing much ever happens. But it tests one's patience when the burning question of whether Andy and Lance will be able to perform a song on open mic night at their local pub without making complete fools of themselves is dragged out over 3 episodes. "Father Ted" dealt with a very similar theme in half an hour, and managed to be a hundred times funnier.
What's more, despite the detailed characterization of the two heroes, the other characters are mostly one-dimensional clichés at best, and often badly underused, as if Mackenzie Crook populated his world with colorful stereotypes and then didn't have the slightest idea what to do with them. One poor actress literally gets through the entire series without saying or doing anything! And I'm talking about a character featured on the cover of the DVD, so presumably she's supposed to be significant.
This series will undoubtedly appeal to fans of "The Last Of The Summer Wine" who'd enjoy something similar with a younger cast, more soap-opera elements, and a much stronger emphasis on amateur archaeology. And since a second series has been commissioned, there must be plenty of you out there. But if you think that sounds a bit slow, give it a miss.