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Hans Petter Moland
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Failed parole officer Simon Garden (Coogan) is framed for a murder committed by one of Manchester's leading police officers. The only evidence proving his innocence is a CCTV video tape locked inside a bank vault. With the help of four inept ex-criminals and token love interest Emma (Lena Headey), Garden must break into the bank and steal the CCTV footage in order to clear his name. Written by
The outside shots of the West Clyde Bank were filmed in an old bank in Castle Street, Liverpool. The interior shots identify it as being the Deansgate Branch, Manchester. See more »
During some of the scenes outside the bank, the sea can be seen down the street, e.g. when Simon meets Emma, dressed as a prostitute. Manchester is inland, whereas Liverpool (where the scenes were filmed) is beside the Mersey Estuary. See more »
[demonstrating a remote-controlled toy fire-engine with a camera on the ladder]
What is it?
It's a GOTLER.
A George-operated time-lock equalising robot.
See more »
During the first part of the credits there is footage showing the cast dancing to "Heroes" by David Bowie See more »
Some of the criticism this film has received seems a little unfair. While its concept, plot and characters are not very inventive, the tone of the film works. The humour is often very amusing indeed, and much does amuse in the film. Even the predictable attempts at "Gross-Out" humour work in themselves, if perhaps not in the context of the film.
Questions could be raised about the film's odd mix of styles - the attempts at naturalism and post-modernism, old-fashioned lightweight adventure and Ealing whimsicality - all seem at odds with each other, yet an entertaining film emerges from this. The playing of an impressive cast is sound, with the supporting players, like Om Puri and Ben Miller making the most of limited parts. Stephen Dillane does a steady job as a smug, self-satisfied policeman baddie. I much enjoyed the absurd bit where he laughs maniacally for a while while on TV and the camera zooms into the TV screen Coogan is watching him on. Newcomer Emma Williams is an effective addition to the cast, although she doesn't have all that much to do in plot terms, come to think of it. The finely named Lena Headey is very inoffensive as the "love interest", and thankfully the romance such as it is is light-hearted and made part of the convoluted plot. Perhaps a problem is the excess of characters, a few of whom could be done without. Omar Sharif's cameo was briskly enjoyable, but hardly necessary to the plot, for example. Steve Coogan, so successful on TV with the Alan Partridge character, goes for a more likable, less intricate comic character in this film. He is often excellent, in scenes such as when he does an odd, buffoonish dance in a club. There are plenty of effective little character touches and importantly, one is made to like his character and want him and his "gang" to win out, so to speak, by the end. A film reminiscent of past British Ealing comedies, yet with a fair dose of crudity. In the context of today, this is an impressively funny film, but it does not quite match up to "The Ladykillers" or "The League of Gentlemen", for example. It is slightly overlong, but largely a winning, refreshing minor comedy.
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