The Big Calm
The stepson and the three surviving chums are driving to an out-of-season seaside resort to cast the departed pal’s ashes to the winds, in accordance with his last wishes. As such, they are part of a quasi-geriatric road movie drifting along at an appropriately funereal pace, with the passengers calling up memories (with sumptuous flashbacks for illustration) and reflecting the dynamics of timeworn friendships.
A strand of muted soap opera surfaces from time to time, especially in the relationship of the widow and solicitous pal Ray (Hoskins), which is festooned with flashbacks-within-flashbacks. But the chief pleasure of this amiably elegiac movie may be in the spectacle of assorted denizens of the erstwhile New British Cinema—Alfie (Caine), The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (Courtenay), Blow-Up (Hemmings), O Lucky Man (Mirren) and The Long Good Friday (Hoskins)—growling, scheming, and bluffing their ways into the other end of life.