Mike (Nick Nevern) is a part-time football hooligan and through a “business venture” presented to him by his friend Eddie (Simon Phillips) he comes into hitherto unimagined wealth. Withdrawing money by night from cloned chip and pin cards, he rakes in a grand a night but quickly starts to blow it on drink and drugs. During a jaunt to Paris to strip-mine their cash machines he gets pinched and serves a stretch in a French prison. Following his release and return to London he starts to wonder if he should get out as the police keep their eye on him, hoping he’ll lead them higher up this particular food chain.
With aspirations to be a London-based Goodfellas (character arcs are almost identical), this comes across instead as far too superficial and slight to have anywhere near that kind of impact. Some of the set-up is good, with the main characters presented as fully-formed, flesh and blood people rather than ciphers or caricatures, but no-one is able to elicit our sympathy and on the contrary, so many characters seem hell-bent on being as unpleasant as possible that you eventually switch off, waiting for it to end.
And end it does, far too abruptly. Having taken its time through the first hour to establish motives and background for Mike, the film rushes through the last quarter of hour and then ends so swiftly it’s not entirely clear what has happened. There’s nothing wrong with a film moving quickly through the gears and at times that can be an asset, but to chop and change is fatal to audience engagement and investment and it all leaves an abiding sense of “so what?”
The acting is mostly commendable, with Phillips in particular putting a lot of clear water between this and his sad-sack character from “How to Stop Being a Loser”. The sequence where Mike goes through a series of job interviews provides a few laughs and Nevern seems quite a natural screen presence, but everyone else seems hell-bent on cramming as much swearing into their screen time as possible, which is neither big nor clever. The football hooliganism dimension is never really explored. It is presented as a key part of Mike’s life, but it remains peripheral to what he gets caught up in and is not developed as it could have been. It makes the emphasis on this aspect in the title and tag line seem disingenuous.
As is so often the case with this sort of British independent film, there are some good ideas and some talented participants, but most of what works is borrowed from far better films and in the end the whole enterprise feels rushed and under-developed. Find something better to watch.
Extras: A chat track with Phillips, Nevern and the Director writer descends quickly into incoherent banter that sheds little to no meaningful light on the film-making process. Other than that, a trailer. Poor.