Lazy filmmaking undermines this sparky caper thriller, from paper-thin characters and convenient plot points to limp direction and corny editing. This is a real shame, because the bright rising-star cast brings real energy to the weak material. So audiences who can switch off their brains might have some fun watching this fast-paced romp. But everyone else should be wary.
It opens in Britain, where economics student Sam (Ed Speleers) is running an elaborate credit card scam with classmates Fordy, Yatesey and Rafa (Will Poulter, Alfie Allen and Sebastian De Souza). But when local gangster Marcel (Thomas Kretchmann) discovers their operation, he demands a £2m payoff to let them go. So Sam secretly manipulates his new girlfriend Frankie (Emma Rigby), who happens to work for a credit security firm, into getting them the key information they can use to stage a series of high-stakes cons in Miami. And when this plan falls apart, they decide to launch an elaborate sting to rob £20m of diamonds and set themselves up for life.
The premise isn't bad, but the script is packed with coincidental things that make it utterly impossible to believe. Frankie's job is one of these, as is the fact that Rafa looks just like the Prince of Brunei. And of course, since the plot needs some third-act suspense, Yatesey suddenly turns out to be a careless idiot. None of these things make any sense, leaving everything about the film feeling gratuitous, including the sunshiny beauty of the Miami Beach setting and the presence of inexpressive actress Rigby. Plastic, indeed.
Continue reading: Plastic Review
This film may look sleek and urgent, but it never feels like anything more than a run-of-the-mill London drugs thriller. The cast is good, and the imagery is striking, but it never adds anything new to the genre. And it certainly doesn't have the bracing impact of the original 1996 film, which introduced the world to Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive).
It centres on the young drug dealer Frank (Coyle), who with his friend Tony (Webb) is trying to bring a huge stash of drugs from Amsterdam to London. The cops are brutally trying to force Frank into turning in evidence against his supplier Milo (Buric), which puts him in a very bad position. With Milo's henchman (Ferda) breathing down his neck, Frank tries to call in his debts and raise enough cash so he and his stripper girlfriend Flo (Deyn) can get away. But all of his plans seem to go awry, which strains his relationship with Flo because he doesn't want to tell her the truth.
This is one of those movies in which events squeeze in on the central character from every side, forcing him to increasingly desperate actions. And Spanish director Prieto has a lurid visual style that jolts the screen with energy, even if it leaves everything feeling rather superficial. Coyle finds Frank's intriguing edges, playing him as a cocky nice guy whose confidence is beaten out of him. As he becomes a shell of himself, we have quite a bit of sympathy with him. So it's a shame that we never really feel much chemistry between Frank and Flo.
Continue reading: Pusher Review
In 1990 Iraq, Saddam Hussein's son Uday (Cooper) is on a rampage of rape, torture and murder when he grabs his old school friend Latif Yahia (Cooper again) and forces him to become his stand-in. Latif isn't allowed to say no and, after extensive training and plastic surgery, plus the approval of Saddam (Quast), he becomes Uday's doppelganger. But he never hides his belief that Uday is a psychopath, even to his mentor Munem (Rawl). And he takes an even bigger risk when he falls for one of Uday's girls, Sarrab (Sagnier).
Continue reading: The Devil's Double Review
Bobby (Kebbel) returns from his final tour of duty in Afghanistan with no plans for his life, although two separate groups make rather insistent offers. First there's the top thug (Thomas) on his grim South London estate, who requires him to join his gun-toting heavies. But Bobby instead wants to help the little brother (Ayemere) of his friend Fahad (Jeremiah), get out of the gang.
Meanwhile, government agents (Curran and Cox) ask him to help shut down a terrorist cell by contacting their rogue informant Alayna (Bielski). But all of this smells fishy.
Continue reading: The Veteran Review
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