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Plastic (Ed Speleers/Will Poulter) - Review

Plastic

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 1.5 out of 5

HAVING impressed to a degree with his last thriller, A Lonely Place To Die, Julian Gilbey takes a backward step with action-comedy crime caper Plastic.

Clearly inspired by the likes of Guy Ritchie’s Lock Stock, yet also aspiring to the sophistication of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s 11, the film comes nowhere near the enjoyment factor of either by virtue of its dumb (yet allegedly true) premise, laddish script and unlikeable characters.

Worse, it squanders the talents of a decent young British cast, headed by Downton Abbey‘s Ed Speleers and including EE Rising Star winner Will Poulter and Game of Thrones’ Alfie Allen, not to mention Thomas Kretschmann.

The plot finds Sam (Speleers) leading a group of university students who finance their high-flying lifestyle by indulging in carefully plotted credit card fraud against anyone who they view as having it coming, whether it’s arrogant middle-aged fast car drivers with trophy girlfriends who badmouth them in petrol stations or lecherous old men who like prostitutes.

However, when they rip off the wrong target, they find themselves owing a ruthless businessman (Kretschmann) £2 million with just two weeks to pay up, so head off to Miami to plot a payday heist.

In doing so, one of their member (Allen) uses the opportunity to make his own play for the money, while Sam finds himself falling for a fellow student (Emma Rigby).

Gilbey’s film has the potential to be a fun genre entry that’s enhanced by its cast. But from the start it’s clear that the director has bitten off more than he can chew.

For starters, there’s not a single character worth rooting for, a major failing in a con movie. Rather, you hope they all get some kind of comeuppance, such is the cock-sure and unappealing bravado most of them exhibit throughout. They’re idiots riding for a fall.

Secondly, the story itself doesn’t add up to much. The stakes are never really high enough (there’s a complete lack of tension), while the various cons are more stupid than ingenious, right down to the terrible contrivances that occur throughout and, worse, the laughable use of disguises.

The cast, without exception, are pretty poor too – unable to breathe any life or complexity into the light-weight script.

What’s left is a joyless, predictable and tedious experience that all too quickly outstays its welcome. You shouldn’t be deceived into seeing it.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 102mins
UK Release Date: April 30, 2014