Guy Ritchie has a good eye for men. His 1998 debut film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is filled with them. Two years later, in Snatch, he worked with the living Adonis himself, Brad Pitt, peppering the background with all sorts of handsome: Benicio Del Toro, Jason Statham, Alan Ford (wait, what?). RocknRolla starred Scottish heartthrob Gerard Butler and Sherlock Holmes had Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law (who, as Watson, got to cover his widow’s peak with a neat cap). Madonna’s ex-husband has now turned his gaze back to the his native land, working with the epitome of Brit-fit, David Beckham, in an ad for H&M. For underwear. Naturally.
Soccer superstar and husband to Posh Spice, Becks is known for his skills on the pitch as much as he is for his chiseled and tattooed physique. Playing on this, Ritchie puts the sports icon in a revealing position—while sending his kids off to school, Becks’ dressing gown gets caught in the door of the minivan just as he gets locked out of his Los Angeles mansion. In his skivvies he takes off after the car, shedding the few layers of clothing he has on along the way. Running through back yards and swimming across pools—taking a moment to luxuriously flip his hair off his face as he exits the water—it’s an action film that begs to be ogled. Moreover, it should put to rest any retirement rumours that have been circulating about Becks, as the 37-year looks to be in top shape. (Paris Saint-Germain FC, rest assured.)
The advert bears the traces of Ritchie’s trademark quick cuts and kinetic editing, but let’s be honest, we’re not exactly examining the form of the film here. And is it really a film? This trend of attaching big name directors to ad campaigns and calling them films is beginning to wear thin. Films are about more than the images; they’re meant to communicate ideas, passion, laughter. When a director is brought on as a gun-for-hire to promote underwear, no matter how nice it looks, are we really naïve enough to call it a film? It’s a commercial, a well-produced one, but nothing more. Sorry Becks, not even your pecks can change that.