Timothy Spall has now taken centre stage in movies about Blackpool, the excellent Away, and now Benidorm. All he needs is to star in one about Vegas and he’s arguably got the treble!
In It Snows In Benidorm Spall plays Peter Riordan, a bank clerk who has habits that he sticks to, day in, day out. That is until one day his bank decides his time is up and gives him early retirement, not something he wants, but he doesn’t have a lot of choice.
Spall decides he’s going to head out and see his brother, someone he’s not seen for over ten years, in Benidorm. Why not? He’s retired now and can do whatever he wants. Nervously he gets in touch and arranges to go.
He arrives, but there’s no sign of his brother. He waits, and waits, and waits in the airport but his brother is a no-show. He makes his own way to his brothers apartment only to be told no-one has seen his brother for a number of days, but they let him into his apartment anyway.
After falling asleep on the balcony, Peter is awakened by Alex, Sarita Choudhury (“The Green Knight”, “Blindspot (TV)”), a business partner of Peter’s brother in a club, she wants to know where he is, the staff, unpaid, want to know where he is.
Peter has no idea where his brother is but is immediately taken with Alex and visits the club, after making his way through the hedonistic strip of Benidorm. What he sees is eye-opening for a shy, retiring bank clerk, but he enlists Alex in his attempt to discover more about his brother and his possible whereabouts.
This sees Peter wandering around Benidorm, visiting things, asking questions, but not really getting anywhere. He does discover that his brother had his hands in other pies, which may not have been so successful, could it be that something untoward has happened?
It Snows In Benidorm is written and directed by Isabel Coixet (“Elisa & Marcela”, “The Bookshop”). It’s a slow and meandering movie that is really only watchable because of Spall’s amazing-as-ever performance.
At nearly two-hours it runs too long and whilst there’s the occasional bout of dark-humour, overall It Snows In Benidorm is more intent on showing the stranger side and, occasionally, beautiful side of Benidorm, only fleetingly showing the seediness that it’s known for.
Questions aren’t answered, it’s left to you to fill in the gaps, everyone, and there’s only about four people in the whole movie, is in some way connected but not all the connections have any bearing on the storyline or reason for even showing them sometimes.
It’s a shame, because there’s no reason that It Snows In Benidorm couldn’t have been as good as Away, but it isn’t, not by a long way. Instead it feels overindulgent, bloated and without purposes.
THE QUICK SELL
Peter has worked all his life at a Manchester bank. When he is awarded an early retirement, he decides to visit his brother in Benidorm, only to discover that he's disappeared.