The Hot Potato
Without wishing to typecast actors, Ray Winstone undeniably does a stoic job playing cockney characters, and here in The Hot Potato he does indeed pull out all the stops as Kenny, an east-end wheeler-dealer.
This “lump” is actually potato-shaped, radio-active, weapons-grade uranium: something which Danny acquired after a government research centre explodes. Surrounded in protective lead casing, Kenny and Danny are soon informed of its danger and realise that they are now at risk from cancer, among other radio-active induced illnesses.
However, on the positive side of their acquisition, their new possession is found to be very valuable and to the right person worth a lot of money – an ever increasing amount of money if they find the right bidder. And thus the story follows Kenny and Danny as they embark on a mini adventure trying to get rid of the “hot potato” as quick as they can to minimise their own personal safety.
With the help of Danny’s girlfriend, the trigger-happy Carole (played by Ray Winstone’s real-life daughter, Lois Winstone), and with local crime bosses, The Twins (both played by John Lynch) and their henchman, Harry (Colm Meaney), so begins a tumultuous trip across Europe looking for potential uranium buyers.
Ray Winstone indisputably drives this film with his daughter Lois doing a superb job holding up her part as the female element in a sometimes ditsy, but amicable character. Meaney does a convincing job as the shadowing henchman, and Huston’s onscreen magnetism seems to work well as his character Danny interacts with Kenny.
A surprising addition to the cast is Louise Redknapp, who plays Kenny’s wife – an unforeseen pairing of two actors if ever there was one!
Director Tim Lewiston has seemingly been inspired by the likes of Ritchie’s Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, and even films such as The Italian Job, but it fails to hit the unique nail on the head. The wonderful trip back in time to the late 1960s works well though, and the film is very enjoyable to behold.
Being slightly biased towards any film Ray Winstone is in, this is a film worth watching once…but then pass it on like a hot potato.
Watch the trailer here