produced by JHQ
composed by Jon Hall and Rick Davey
published by SGO Music Publishing Limited See more »
Excellent British crime film
Having endured the horrors of the recent spate of cockney crime capers I had equally low expectations of this scouse crime caper but it proved to be one of the best British films of the year.
Neil Fitzmaurice's screenplay doesn't do anything radically different, let's be honest, but he manages to bring a fresh eye to a tired genre. The film follows the life of an innocent who is transformed by prison. This is told in a narrated flashback - and you even get flashbacks within flashbacks - which is difficult to pull off but somehow Fitzmaurice manages it. This framing device is usually a lazy way of keeping the audience interested during the boring bits but each section of the film is interesting in its own right and leads logically to the conclusion. Although there are a couple of plot contrivances I had to take with a pinch of salt there is nothing that damages the movie too much. While I'm sure authentic Liverpool gangsters would have spotted lots of mistakes, to a law-abiding citizen like myself it seems quite realistic. And the screenplay does a better job than most of marrying the comedy with the drama.
Fitzmaurice also acts in the film in the lead and that's probably the key to its success. All drama should begin with believable strong characters and while writers often overlook this, actors are less likely to. So Going Off Big Time has the treat of character motivations you understand and can follow without being annoyed. And actors also know how to write dialogue, which in this movie is excellent. The dialogue manages to be authentic without alienating those from outside Liverpool, which is always a help.
The original release date was September, about the same time as Snatch, but only arrives in my local multiplex in November. Timing is obviously everything and while they had bad luck with the theatrical release it should prove a video rental hit. While this was always going to be second best to Snatch, it isn't as far behind in quality as one might think.
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