On a Clear Day (Gaby Dellal). 98 minutes. Opens Friday (May 5). For venues and times, see Movies, page 105. Rating: NN Rating: NN
In the tradition of Calendar Girls and The Full Monty comes another predictable British crowd-pleaser about middle-aged, blue-collar folk finding inspiration in the unlikeliest of places. Frank ( Peter Mullan ) is an athletic, 50-something Glasgow dock worker who's been fired. Left moping around town, he refuses to communicate with his loving wife (a splendid Brenda Blethyn ) and adult son ( Jamie Sives ). Relations between father and son have been especially tense ever since the accidental drowning death of the family's other son 23 years ago. When Frank decides to swim the English Channel with the help of his fellow unemployed friends, everyone finally learns how to forgive and understand one another.
The film's plot twist and character developments can be seen from miles away - clear day or not. The only thing that sets director Gaby Dellal 's first feature apart from others is Mullan's carefully crafted performance as the emotionally dead Frank. The few scenes where Frank becomes overcome while watching disabled children swim reminds you how powerful Mullan's deep, expressive eyes can be.
Unfortunately, Alex Rose 's screenplay doesn't give Mullan time to fully explore Frank's motivations, and instead relies on shoddy comic relief from ex-hobbit Billy Boyd as one of Frank's encouraging buddies.