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  Business, The Costa Del Crime
Year: 2005
Director: Nick Love
Stars: Danny Dyer, Tamer Hassan, Geoff Bell, Georgina Chapman, Roland Manookian, Eddie Webber, Dan Mead, Arturo Venegas, Michael Maxwell, Camille Coduri, Linda Henry, Martin Marquez, Paul Burns
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Frankie (Danny Dyer) has got himself into a spot of bother in the Spain of the nineteen-eighties, and after it all started so well, too. At the beginning of the decade, he was stuck in London, living with his mother with his father in prison and dreaming of making more of his life than dear old dad, who always warned him to keep to the straight and narrow. However, after knocking out a gangster who was threatening his mother, Frankie decides it would be good idea to do a favour for a friend of his dad's, and delivers a package to Charlie (Tamer Hassan), a club owner on the Spanish coast. Charlie immediately takes him under his wing, and so begins Frankie's introduction into a world of plentiful cash, drugs, women and crime...

After about half an hour of this film, it appears writer and director Nick Love has missed his calling, and what he really wants to be doing is directing pop videos, preferably back in the eighties, such is his knack for marrying images to music. Nostalgia would appear to be the order of the day here, especially if you were a gangster twenty years before The Business was made, as Love is as sentimental about this decade as he is about London hard men. Fortunately, amidst all this wallowing in the culture of the day, he remembers to tell his story, overfamiliar as it is.

One thing that strikes you about the film is its brightness - not morally, no, in that aspect it's dark as midnight, but in contrast to that is the sundrenched cinematography that takes every advantage of the weather the cast and crew enjoyed while on location. And even when the sun goes down, the neon of nightclubs keeps the visuals garish, a perfect setting for what is basically a British Goodfellas, or so presumably it was hoped. If it doesn't hit those heights, being too accepting of its characters' behaviour either as boys will be boys or stay loyal to your allies and forget everyone else, the mood at least couldn't have been better handled.

Frankie is quickly recruited as Charlie's driver; Charlie, we learn, escaped to Spain from a notorious bank robbery in Britain, notorious because a guard was shot. However, tough but fair Charlie didn't do the shooting, as that task fell eagerly to Sammy (Geoff Bell), a borderline psychopath and staunch friend of Charlie's who has set up business in the drugs trade with him. Sammy takes an instant dislike to Frankie, but as Charlie likes him doesn't make too much trouble - it's just that his girlfriend Carly (Georgina Chapman), the rather bloodless femme fatale of the piece, has taken an instant liking to Frankie, who knows that if he values his life he will not go near her.

In fact, Frankie has joined this gang at precisely the right time, as the market for cocaine they traffic in is about to explode, as are the financial opportunities for those with money to spend. The social commentaries only convince as far as the reality of the era serves as a solid backdrop, but Love is stronger on the wish fulfilment fantasies of Frankie, and The Business is better as a straight gangster movie than it is a critique of eighties' values. With his peculiarly humourless brand of humour and his actors' consistently believable performances, the tone's menace is sustained, and the casual violence can be just as powerful as the setpieces, as all the while Blondie, Simple Minds and "Belouis" "Some" play on the soundtrack, oblivious to the way Frankie's life has reached its high and is now heading downwards. Love doesn't quite have the courage to let him slip all the way down the ladder, mind you. Music by Ivor Guest.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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