11 December 2006 | bob the moo
Love focuses on the style but forgets the substance
Frankie is just a typical South London chav (or whatever they were called back then) until he runs an errand to the south of Spain for a local gangster. He delivers a bag to Charlie in the Costa del Crime and gets taken on as his driven. As time goes by Frankie becomes more than just "the kid Frankie" and this continues even when Charlie's violently irrational partner Sam gets back on the scene. However as the cocaine high of the 80's comes, the risks of his criminal live come all the realer to Frankie.
Clearly aiming to be some sort of "Costa del Goodfellas" story, Nick Love's film is a very by-the-numbers sort of affair that relies too much on the superficial things while forgetting things like characters and narrative. The storyline is very basic and it is all pretty obvious what the arch of the story will be, if not the exact detail. Love has put more effort into capturing the feel of the 1980's which, in fairness he does pretty well thanks to his set and costume people as well as a constant pop music soundtrack. This is all well and good and the story itself moves forward with this style as its driver but it doesn't really have much going on below the surface in terms of character.
Of course it doesn't really help that some of the performances are weak. Dyer does his usual cockney geezer thing and does change across the film (albeit in a basic way) but his narration is terrible. It feels like he is just reading the words and certainly isn't delivering them with any sense of who is character is or with any sense of emotion or understanding of the story he is telling. Hassan is a solid presence and actually does well with his character in the later stages of the film. Bell is obvious but OK while Chapman isn't half as sexy as she clearly has been told she is.
Overall then a fairly so-so British film that looks "the business" in regards the period and 80's gimmicks but really doesn't have much else going for. Maybe worth a look though if your expectations are reasonably low.