Directed by: #FraserHinch
Written by: #DaveJewitt
What opens as a Snatch/Lock-Stock/Guy Ritchie-esque British gangster film,complete with side jokes and regional accents, bodies bungled into Ford Fiestas and bosses with questionable beards, descends into boredom with a dislocated plot and performances to match in Hinch's film Liability.
At the outset, it's a really likeable film. The production is clean and edgy and the story's premise promising. The bad-guys are beefy but with a marriage guidance session to get to, and the good-guy bungled into the back of a car has a loyal brother somewhere in the background to fight for him: all solid stuff for this type of film. The soundtrack is varied and relevant, timed to coincide with the humour or drama of the story: this won't take itself too seriously I thought, but I will get my jokes and I will get my gratuitous violence. But it is the story itself, or more specifically, the script which begins to let everybody down.
Initially, I thought it was just the actors who were uncomfortable. Their delivery was strained, the pauses between their lines too long to convince anyone this was a natural conversation and then the more I watched, the worse it got as characters state the obvious, plot holes open up only to be filled in with an incongruous line a few minutes later, usually over-dramatic in context and only making the whole thing seem less and less believable as it progresses.
We start with our brothers, Bobby and Lewis, clearly different people, being asked by their dodgy Uncle John to make a drug deal: all they have to do is pick up the stash and take it to the drop off. Easy money we're told: the boys walk out like it is any other day. Then outside the drop off rendevouz, Bobby starts laying to Lewis about how they could end up with a bullet in their heads here if he puts a foot wrong. When did the stakes become this high? Similarly, the bad-guy-boss, Miami Vice, can't believe these two likely-lads have been given the job of dropping off the drugs and immediately wants to pull a gun on them. The audience are taken from 0 to 100 miles per hour without enough exposition in between and it is pretty unsettling. It doesn't get any better as the plot thickens and Bobby, the brighter brother with the looks, the brains and the wife and kids is taken hostage but immediately tells his brother not to bother coming for him because he's 'dead already', despite only having a few bruises and a clear way out. It seems that, in this script, either the characters are over-reacting to the stakes or the stakes are too high for them to build a realistic reaction to.
And it's a real shame because the cinematography is good. Yes the audio-balancing is off in places, but the shots are clean, the picture quality good, the soundtrack fitting and the aerial shots of Birmingham are awesome in places. Sadly, if anything is a liability in this film, it is the script (dodgy pun-intended).