Current Issue #488

Film Review:
The Trip to Greece

The fourth and final entry in Michael Winterbottom’s Trip film series is darker still and more melancholy than the previous pics, despite the gorgeous locations.

Following on from trips to the Lake District, Italy and Spain, and again cut down from a longer BBC version, it’s Steve Coogan’s eighth collaboration with this director and is this time more about him than that indefatigably sunny Welshman Rob Brydon.

There’s little introduction as we launch straight into Steve and Rob (or at least heightened versions of themselves) having yet another delicious lunch and chatting in highly improvised style, and with a little more fondness than the previous outings. This time Steve has been commissioned by The Observer to travel from Troy to Ithaca in the footsteps of Odysseus, and this, well, odyssey is taking place as a personal drama unfolds close to home yet all too far away.

The pair joke about each other’s work (with a jab at Steve’s performance in Stan & Ollie), see the many sights, knock off lots of those trademark impressions (with Rob doing a snarky one of Steve behind his back) and are sometimes reminded of the real world of non-stars. This is especially apparent when they’re approached by Kareem Alkabbani, who played a refugee in Winterbottom’s Greed (shot just before this) and whom Steve rudely doesn’t remember, and after he takes them to a real refugee camp, this pair of coddled celebs are shocked into silence. Or almost.

However, there’s still much for fans expecting humour to savour, as references to Alexander The Great (or was he?), Aristotle, Lord Byron and James Joyce are accompanied by an extended gag about the difference between two concepts of tragedy: the ancient Greeks and the Bee Gees.

And yes, this is the last Trip and full circle for Coogan, who must have complete trust in Winterbottom to work with him so often and allow this director to, at times, make him look so bad. But this means no Trip To Australia or even Trip To America… or is that a good thing?

Reviewer Rating

The Trip to Greece (M) is available on video on demand services

DM Bradley

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