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|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E
dir-scr Nick Love
with Danny Dyer, Tamer Hassan, Geoff Bell, Georgina Chapman, Roland Manookian, Eddie Webber, Linda Henry, Adam Bolton, Camille Coduri, Arturo Venegas, Martin Marquez, Andy Linton
release UK 2.Sep.05
05/UK Vertigo 1h36
Lucrative partnership: Dyer and Hassan
This Costa del Crime drama is engaging, even though it lacks a single likeable character and is packed with cliches. But like Love's other films (Goodbye Charlie Bright, The Football Factory), it's at least very energetic.
Frankie (Dyer) is a guy on the run from the law in 1980s London, escaping to southern Spain, where he falls in with club owner Charlie (Hassan), who works for local crime boss Sammy (Bell). Frankie's dad once warned him to stay away from crime, women and drugs, but does he listen? Soon he and Charlie are running marijuana and cocaine from Morocco, and Frankie's seriously tempted by Sammy's flirtatious wife Carly (Chapman). Besides being hideously violent, Sammy is also the jealous type.
The plot is as old as the hills, even though Love introduces wrinkles at every turn. But he struggles to bring the various strands to a coherent conclusion, not helped by editing that chops every scene short. The film darts and leaps from start to finish, never pausing to catch breath. This makes it kinetic and exciting, combined with truly vivid photography, cool 80s tunes and a sexy (but strangely sexless) tone. It's certainly watchable--especially when the acting is this solid--but it's not particularly satisfying.
Dyer dives into the role with his traditional verve, effing and blinding through the profane dialog while modelling eye-catching period sportswear. He's often clad in nothing but tennis shorts, which helps us understand why the shallow people he meets in Spain are so taken with him. But his inner turmoil feels superficial, especially since the Love focuses on the surface bravado rather then the humanity underneath. And we never quite understand why he doesn't just get out of there.
In the end, the film does have a strong message, proclaiming and then undermining the mantra, "It's better to be somebody for one day than nobody for a lifetime." The vacuous life of crime, crippling addiction and intimate betrayals are startlingly vivid, if a bit preachy. And while the film bristles with energy, it still feels like yet another overwrought British crime caper.
|jerald: manchester: "This movie brings back alot of 80s memories, very engaging, funny and violent at the same time. I say its all worth it a must see movie." (1.Sep.05)
© 2005 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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