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Welcome To The Rileys - DVD Review

Welcome To The Rileys

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

JAKE (son of Ridley) Scott’s Welcome To The Rileys is a genuinely satisfying film that’s boosted by a trio of fine performances.

Its tale of loss and personal redemption isn’t offering anything particularly new but is told in such a way that it treats its subject matter with the sensitivity it deserves without resorting to over-sentimentalising or Hollywood-esque feel-good tactics.

James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo play Doug and Lois Riley, whose lives have been derailed by the loss of their 15-year-old daughter eight years ago. As a result, they have grown apart with Doug forced to find affection in the arms of late-night waitresses and Lois afraid to leave the house.

While at a business convention in New Orleans, Doug encounters Mallory (Kristen Stewart), a runaway-turned-stripper, who is using her body in any way necessary to survive.

Recognising elements of his own daughter in Mallory, Doug undertakes to look out for her and offers to pay $100 for every day he is allowed to live with her.

But his rash decision to remain in New Orleans without any apparent reason compels Lois to overcome her fears and travel down to meet her husband in a bid to reclaim their marriage.

The ensuing film is both touching and amusing, even if certain scenes and scenarios feel a little far-fetched.

Gandolfini, in particular, stands out as Doug, whose pent-up frustrations and sadness are finally given an outlet by Mallory, but Leo is on great form, too, as his painfully insular wife. Her re-awakening is deftly handled with the right amount of comedy and drama, so that when she finally takes Mallory’s plight under her own wing, it provides the catalyst for the film’s final acts.

Older Twilight fans, meanwhile, should take the opportunity to see Stewart in a different, albeit foul-mouthed and more brazen role as she embraces the opportunity to remind people of the acting skills she has previously honed in films like Into The Wild and Adventureland.

Put together, the trio make for an absorbingly dysfunctional ‘family’ who you’ll find yourself rooting for through the good times and bad.

Scott, too, ensures that the film doesn’t blow its final act, delivering the type of conclusion that feels both hopeful without being contrived and appropriate to each of the characters.

Watch the trailer:

Certificate: 15
Running time: 112mins
UK DVD Release: February 27, 2012