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US film critics slap Calcutta-born Welsh

Movie accents more Bangalore than Bangor

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US film critics have lined up to have a pop at the "Welsh" accents in The Last Sin Eater - "a creepy religious drama" regarding a Welsh immigrant community living in America's Appalachian mountains.

According to icWales, the movie centres on this "superstitious group" which "lives in fear of a 'sin eater', a mysterious man they believe can cleanse a dead body by taking on the recently departed person's sins". It's a FoxFaith production, which is apparently "dedicated to making family-friendly films with a religious message".

One thing it's evidently not dedicated to, though, is linguistic accuracy. The Fort Worth Weekly dismissed one character's Welsh accent as being "closer to Calcutta than Cardiff", while Western Mail film critic Gary Slaymaker said the film "sounds like it could be going back to the days of How Green Was My Valley". Film buffs will no doubt shudder at the recollection of this splendid attempt by Hollywood to recreate the local lingo, "full of Oscar-winning scenes laced with 'look you' and 'isn't it'," as Slaymaker puts it.

In fact, The Last Sin Eater has only one genuine son of the valleys - Holby City's Peter Wingfield - who plays said sin eater. Presumably, it was him the Christian Post was describing when its favourable review offered: "The actors sport thick Welsh accents, providing a nice, authentic touch."

Quite why the majority of US critics are so offended by this particular outrage remains a mystery. Hollywood has always had a somewhat cavalier attitude towards foreign accents, as those of you scarred for life by Dick van Dyke's chirpy Cockney in Mary Poppins will attest.

Other highly-suspect characterisations include comedy Australians in Simpsons' episode Bart vs. Australia, where the locals appear to have spent most of their lives in Texas, Tom Cruise's magnificent Oirish brogue in Far And Away and (pour yourselves the usual stiff brandy before continuing) Mel Gibson's immaculate voicing of William Wallace in Braveheart. The prosecution rests. ®

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