Plunkett & MacLeane ★★★½

Aah I'd forgotten how much fun this movie was!

A wonderfully anachronistic tale of highwaymen in 1700s London, the film is shot through with a 90s sensibility and an eclectic cast; Trainspotting's Robert Carlyle and Jonny Lee Miller are the titular rogues of this regency buddy buddy romp, robbing from the rich...and that's it! The gorgeous Liv Tyler is the wild free spirited Lady Rebecca (English accent not too bad either) whilst the great Ken Stott terrifyingly channels his inner Donald Pleasence for a deliciously sinister turn as the feared Thief Taker, Chance. There's also some lovely cameos from some of British comedies best known names including Little Britain's Matt Lucas and David Walliams, The Mighty Boosh's Noel Fielding and, best of all, Armstrong and Miller as two chavvy aristos - definitely inspiration for their later RAF airmen sketches on TV.

It's an inventive and witty film that dares to be different (I remember its trailer listing many period dramas before screaming 'Bollocks to all that!) in its depiction of historical drama and as such it was panned by critics and was something of a flop at the box office. It subsequently garnered a bit of a cult following on the video market but it's an incredible shame that it didn't get the kudos it deserved initially, as the anachronistic style - with its 'music video' editing, the use of language and the modern soundtrack (check out the 90s techno score for the action set pieces, just right for getting the blood pumping) - combined with an utterly authentic depiction of the period in all other matters went on to influence many films such as Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette and equally there's more than a touch of this film in the POTC series, all of which gained much higher praise.

A film before its time? Probably. But Plunkett and MacLeane remains a thrilling enjoyably dark and realistically grubby romp.