Michael Radford’s B. Monkey is a British crime drama/love story about an unlikely romance between a quintessential square elementary school teacher (Jared Harris), and an exotic jewel thief career criminal (Asia Argento).
And yes, it’s about as implausible as one would expect from that description.
For my tastes this was below average from start to finish. I was mildly interested throughout, but never more. My mind wandered now and again, but I never hated the movie or was bored silly.
I did like the fact that the square doesn’t seem particularly intrigued or drawn in by his new girlfriend’s criminal lifestyle. (Presumably he falls for her for the simpler and utterly commonplace reason–which I fully endorse–that she’s gorgeous.) He takes a principled stand against criminal behavior and consistently sticks to it.
Which mostly she wants, since she’s trying to transition out of her present profession. But she struggles to do so, because for one thing she still likes to show off by engaging in flashy low level crimes–e.g., joy riding in luxury cars–and in part because her crime partners want or need her to help them obtain at least one more big score to get them out of a hole.
It’s believable that the square would fall for her, less believable that he’d stick with her and put up with her baggage once he realizes what she is and how she only kinda sorta wants to improve herself, and least believable of all that someone like her would fall for someone like him. I mean, I could see what he represents as having some appeal to her, since she has at least some desire to go straight, but for someone who looks like her and is used to the “fast lane” to be madly in love with this guy and throw herself at him sexually and such strikes me as a lot more male fantasy than reality.
I wasn’t paying close enough attention to the bad guys to keep completely straight on who is who, and who is mad at whom, and who owes money to whom, and who has a history with whom, and all the rest. So when everyone shoots each other at the end, I sort of knew what was going on, but not down to every detail.
And more importantly, I didn’t much care, because the movie never drew me in more than a little.
I guess it’s nice that the square is evidently going to live happily ever after with the hot babe, but again, more fantasy than reality.
(“B. Monkey” is the female lead’s nickname by the way. Her name is Beatrice, and she’s lithe and agile as a monkey when breaking and entering.)