The cast is a Who's Who
of great English actors, but the real star of writer-director Fred Schepisi's winning dramatic comedy is the screenplay. Schepisi successfully fashioned a tight and bittersweet two-hour script from Graham Swift's multi-character, Booker Prize-winning novel about a group of men entrusted with the grim task of scattering their friend's ashes in the sea. The deceased is Jack Dodds (played in flashbacks by Michael Caine), an all-around good-time Charlie and the proprietor of Dodds & Son, Family Butcher. Said son, the tanned and nattily dressed Vince (Ray Winstone), however, wants no part of the family business; he's done quite well for...