A vicious gang of crooks plan to steal the wages of a local factory, but their carefully laid plans go wrong, when the factory employs an armoured van to carry the cash. The gang still go ...
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Ronnie, Wal, Andy and Vic are four bored, unemployed teens in dreary, rainy Glasgow. Ronnie comes up with a great idea. He has noticed that stainless steel sinks are worth a lot of money ... See full summary »
A vicious gang of crooks plan to steal the wages of a local factory, but their carefully laid plans go wrong, when the factory employs an armoured van to carry the cash. The gang still go ahead with the robbery, but when the driver of the armoured van is killed in the raid, his wife plans revenge, and with the police closing in, the gang start to turn on each other. Written by
Payroll is a product very much of its time, borrowing elements from the urban realism of fifties and sixties British cinema upon which to hang its fast-paced, wages-of-sin morality tale. The film is set in Newcastle (though you'd never guess it from the accents) and features strong performances from Michael Craig and Billie Whitelaw, with Françoise Prévost sizzling as the femme fatale par excellence.
The film starts out as a by-the-numbers heist thriller, before taking a sharp turn into territory that almost anticipates the revenge movie vogue of the seventies and eighties. The parallel story lines are handled adroitly, as is the animal attraction between Katie (Prévost) and Mellors (Craig), although William Lucas's turn as Katie's useless husband lacks subtlety.
Payroll is still an engrossing, entertaining and even mildly shocking watch. One weakness which will jar with the modern viewer is the incongruous hot jazz score; silence would have been preferable and more suited to the film's aesthetic.
Well worth a watch, even half a century on.
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