100 Ghosts: Skeletons, 2010 dir. Nick Whitfield

Updated: Jan 7



Another one of my absolute favourite films I had COMPLETELY forgotten about until about a week ago. Watching Armando Iannucci’s the Death of Stalin on iPlayer, with my eyes a-popping at Jason Isaacs’ characterisation of the psychopathic Field Marshall Zhukov as a gruff bluff no-nonsense Northerner (I could happily watch him chucking off his coat on a loop all day) I suddenly remembered the other military gruff bluff no-nonsense Northerner I first knew him as - namely the Colonel in Whitfield’s fairly unique supernatural comedy drama Skeletons. Based largely upon the activities of the troubled Davis and the more personable Bennett, a pair of sort of psychic investigators (the skeletons of the title are the figurative ones they find in their clients' wardrobes), the Colonel is their boss, dishing out assignments and intervening when an important case appears to be going off the rails due to the inconvenient positioning of a corpse road. It’s the kind of film where it helps to just go along with the supernatural goings on, but for me it’s a complete success down to the excellent and wholly convincing cast, particularly Andrew Buckley as the mild mannered Bennett, who kind of brings the whole thing together for me. It’s definitely a flight of fancy but never whimsical, and having watched it recently it’s funnier than I remember (I never thought of it as a comedy, though it is billed as such) and perhaps warmer though it has a kind of desperate longing borne of the tragedy of never really knowing what’s going on in someone else’s head. It seems to have been woefully largely forgotten, even by its biggest fans it turns out (ie me) and is quite hard to track down to stream, though the DVD is available on Amazon and you can buy the movie on YouTube. I finished the bulk of this illustration at midnight last night and I’ve been tweaking it ever since. I’m not hugely delighted with it (it’s too crowded, it looks too much like the film poster, the perspective’s a bit off etc etc) but keeping in the spirit of the #100ghosts project, I am going to post it anyway despite my reservations.

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