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A certain species of micro-budgeted British film can fill a critic with foreboding from their opening moments, seeming as they do to frontload awfulness as fair warning of the terrible time ahead. This abrasive Salford-set non-com (nothing to do with the Smiths, although roughly as funny as Morrissey is nowadays) charges out of the gate pummelling all the wrong buttons. Sink-estate caricatures in thoroughly implausible situations! Larky GBH! Audibly male-authored girl talk! A middle-aged bloke masturbating over a teenager! Nothing causes the heart to sink quite so precipitously, however, as the realisation that these characters will be our heroes for the evening. At which point, the question becomes: well, how low can it go?
The answer: pretty low. Writer-director Chris Green has reheated the germ of an idea that spawned TV’s Shameless and Ideal, aiming to find something grimily irreverent in the sight of bruisers, oddbods, sex pests and pillheads taking murderously extreme measures to see off the rapacious loan shark circling their tower block. The tonal lurches that result are staggering to behold. An unforgivably mishandled blackmail by sex tape, milked for sniggering humour, is limboed under by an incident involving a drugged woman and two horny gamers that is neither amusing nor, in any way, on. Green, 50, often gives the impression of being a 15-year-old whose parents bought him a camera to prise his hands from his underpants.
The critic is therefore torn between highlighting those actors who make a few scenes tolerable or granting them the anonymity they surely longed for as they fled the cast-and-crew screening with heads under blankets.
There is one tried-and-tested gag – the one about the old dear who sees a flasher and has a stroke – but the rest isn’t so much a love letter to the people of Salford as a dreadful, perhaps even actionable slur.
Source: The Guardian
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