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Incendiary (2008)

tomatometer

23

Average Rating: 3.8/10
Reviews Counted: 22
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 17

A solid performance from Michelle Williams isn't enough to save this well meaning, but disappointing, cliché ridden drama.

No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 2

A solid performance from Michelle Williams isn't enough to save this well meaning, but disappointing, cliché ridden drama.

audience

35

liked it
Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 3,627

My Rating

Movie Info

A woman wrestles with grief, betrayal and redemption in this psychological drama from director Sharon Maguire. One afternoon, a young woman (Michelle Williams) sends her husband and young son off to see a football game, and while they're gone for the afternoon she enjoys a tryst with her lover (Ewan McGregor), an opportunistic reporter. While the woman is making love to another man, she hears a news report that a suicide bomber made their way into the stadium, and that hundreds of people are

R,

Drama, Romance, Mystery & Suspense

Chris Cleave, Sharon Maguire

May 5, 2009

Capitol Films

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All Critics (23) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (5) | Rotten (17) | DVD (8)

It ends up being a compendium of bizarre diversions, most of which are utterly surplus to the film's half-cocked desire to stick with the experience and emotions of its main character.

October 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Aspires to so much it ends up being less than the sum of its parts.

February 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Michelle William's riveting performance as the young mother makes it imminently watchable.

January 28, 2008 | Comment (1)
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If a member of cast could save a film, Michelle Williams would be the person to hire, since her central performance in this muddle of a movie is the only thing that stops it being unwatchable.

July 2, 2009 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

a well-made film featuring good actors and which tells an intimate story, but which tries to do too much and collapses under the weight of its own aspirations

May 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

It's an atmospheric drama and a strong turn from Williams, but doesn't tell us anything about ourselves or the terrorists that we didn't already know.

October 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A promising opening and a stunning performance from Michelle Williams are not enough to rescue a film that jumps restlessly from genre to genre without doing justice to any of its individual stories.

October 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

The movie plunges straight down that treacherous black hole that exists between fact and fiction and the inability to replicate either.

October 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

A big-hearted, well-intentioned but ultimately overstretched adaptation.

October 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

London is bombed and contrives to be less recognisable than it's ever been on film, full of people who don't look, act or even speak like Londoners.

October 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Bridget Jones's (Incend)Diary, Maguire is to be commended for attempting a contemporary terrorist drama, but seems more comfortable in the big-knickered North London fantasy world.

October 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

By then, Incendiary has become a tear-stained monologue about bereavement and resilience - it goes off with a bang, but ends with a whimper.

October 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Were it not for Williams's Oscar-quality performance, all the more remarkable for the shambolic incompetence that surrounds her, this would be a turkey.

October 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK]
Daily Mail [UK]

It's only Williams who gives the film any life but, in the face of these odds, even she's helpless to save it from a one-star rating.

October 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

A silly tale involving an unbelievably young top anti-terror cop, an unrealistic journalist, laughable imaginary letters to Bin Laden and a far-fetched friendship between the mum and the bomber's son.

October 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Sun Online
Sun Online

Michelle Williams is a fine and versatile actor but even she has her limits and is never really convincing as a working-class Londoner struggling with guilt and grief.

October 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

After that, cliché piles upon cliché, interspersed with moments of wild unreality and some ill-thought out conspiracy theory. It makes you feel embarrassed for everyone involved.

October 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Independent
Independent

While individual scenes work well, the whole simply defies belief. And, because of this, the final polemic which suggests that London, constantly renewing itself, will never be defeated, simply appears hopelessly sentimental.

October 24, 2008 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

But it maintains its connection with us through Williams' fiercely open-hearted portrayal of a woman losing her grip on her life. And this is just emotional and offbeat enough to make the film worth a look.

October 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Even more problematic is that the Young Woman's lover (the Ewan McGregor one) works for the Daily Express. None of this is calculated to warm your cockles.

October 23, 2008 Full Review Source: Teletext
Teletext

Williams is magnificent in her role -- though they beat the living hell out of her, to a point where it almost becomes ridiculous.

February 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Cinematical
Cinematical

Audience Reviews for Incendiary

A woman whose husband and son are killed in a terrorist attack while she engages in a liaison with her neighbor becomes stuck in the throes of grief and regret.
I have to begin by recognizing the remarkable performance by Michelle Williams, which is the only reason to watch this film. Her moments of hysteria are just as believable as her moments of numbness, and her looks, while captivated by love for her son, are heart-warmingly lovely.
That said, this is quite possibly one of the most emotionally manipulative films I've ever seen. The voice-over narration of her letters to Osama bin Laden are worthy of eye-rolls so exaggerated that they may deform one's face, and the maudlin music only adds to an effect that contrives emotion rather than produces it. What is more, the film attempts to combine drama and mystery with a little action thrown in for good measure, but the film never commits to any genre; as a result we get a hodge-podge of disparate elements, which never amounts to anything significant.
The overall message of Incendiary is about forgiveness and a resistance to lumping all Arabs under the category "terrorist." Of course, I am sympathetic to these themes, but the jump that's required of the "Young Mother" to learn these lessons is never fully explored. Few people are more liberal than I, and even fewer are more inclined to advocate for Arab interests on the political stage, but even I felt anger, which is a natural response to terrorism that is conspicuously elided from this film.
Overall, see this film for Michelle Williams's performance but only if you have nothing better on your queue.
June 15, 2011
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Cast: Michelle Williams, Ewan McGregor, Matthew Macfadyen, Sidney Johnston, Nicholas Gleaves, Nicholas Courtney, Enzo Squillino Jr., Sasha Behar, Gavin Brocker, Chris Ellis, Ricci McLeod

Director: Sharon Maguire

Summary: A powerful drama staring Michelle Williams as an adulterous young housewife struggling to come to terms with the deaths of her husband and infant son after they're killed in a terrorist bombing at a London soccer game. Crippled by grief, the widow seeks comfort through affairs with two men (Ewan McGregor and Matthew Macfadyen), inadvertently putting herself in the midst of a dangerous love triangle.

My Thoughts: "An extremely sad and heart breaking film. Michelle Williams in one of her finer performances. She really takes you through the emotions with her, and you can't help but empathize with her. Great acting by all, but Michelle carries this film. The only real down fall of this film is the character development. You never really got to know the characters. Could have made the supporting cast a bit more interesting. But besides that, it was a good emotional drama."
August 16, 2010
LWOODS04
♥˩ƳИИ ƜѲѲƉƧ♥

Super Reviewer

A touching drama as a young mother tries to cope with the loss of her husband and son in a terrorist attack. Ewan McGregor and Michelle Williams team up again shortly after Deception made around the same time. Despite that being more of an erotic thriller they have a steamier scene in this. Williams gives probably her best performance to date. Although the film starts well, it seems to lose some direction in the second half. The ending was ok but from the first 30 minutes this could have been a much stronger film. As it is most people have probably not even heard of it? If you don't mind a drama you should enjoy this.
May 4, 2010
Deano78

Super Reviewer

This movie was disappointing. It looked good with a good cast but the story was odd and weak. Michelle is married with a child but while she has a quick romp with Ewan her family are killed in a London bombing. Afterwards she sort of loses her mind.
April 1, 2010
thmtsang
T Tsang

Super Reviewer

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