Release Date: 16th September 2011

Director: Lee Sales

Cast:  Ophelia Lovibond, George Russo, Francis Pope, Neil Maskell, Peter Ferdinando, Kyle Summercorn, Neil Large, Fabirizio Santino, Nick Nevern, Tony Denham, Sonny Muslim, Zara Dawson, Diana Kent with Ben Drew and Ricci Harnett

Writer:  Lee Sales, George Russo & Francis Pope

Trailer: TURNOUT

Review By Joe Pesci II below…



One thought on “TURNOUT

  1. Review by Joe Pesci II

    It was interesting to watch both the perfectly adequate TURNOUT and the quite despicably dire THE LEGEND OF HARROW WOODS on consecutive days as they both put forward different solutions to a problem, the problem being: how do you make a film with no money? The solution for the latter film appears to have been to film a bit every now and again across a period of years, rely on goodwill and the occasional star turning up to ‘give something back’. The solution for the former film seems to have been: get your mates together, work really hard and (probably across a very short space of time) shoot a small-scale film deliberately limited in scope and range.

    George Russo plays George, London’s worst drug dealer. He and his girlfriend Sophie (played by the exotically named Ophelia Lovibond) are saving up for a Caribbean holiday, but one of George’s deals goes wrong so he panics and uses the holiday money on another ill-advised deal and descends into an ever-expanding pit of debt. His friends turn out to be useless and untrustworthy, and George turns out to be even worse at collecting his debts than he is at selling the drugs in the first place. Inevitably Sophie (who’s got a cushy though mysteriously unidentified job in the City) discovers the truth and isn’t all that happy about the situation. Can George make everything sweet? Or have his bruvs let him down big time? It’s a simple tale with two messages (a) get a proper job, and (b) make sure you can afford your girlfriend.

    Now, there are three ways of watching this film. The first is to see it as a demonstration of how the world got into its current and seemingly eternal (or at least self-perpetuating) economic crisis. Another way is to see it as a sweet love story gone wrong. And the third is perhaps as a drinking game, where the words ‘sweet’, ‘bruv’ and ‘c***’ are the triggers for guaranteed and excessive drunkenness. TURNOUT is not a gangster film, or even really a crime film. The characters are just ordinary blokes (mostly) being ordinary and dumb and selfish and pretending that they’re gangsters. This is not a lads’ film as such, which is a good thing, as it could so easily have been a really terrible lads’ film, whereas we have something which is a bit off the beaten track.

    Alas, although Russo does a nice line in losers, it’s very difficult to care whether he goes no holiday with his girlfriend or not, and she’s obviously going to leave him, not least because he seems to be getting just a tad obsessed with the drug dealing that he’s so bad at. There’s nothing much wrong with TURNOUT other than that the story it tells isn’t very engaging.

    The actors are uniformly efficient, though Neil Maskell stands out (even though he’s doing his usual). Elsewhere we find Ben Drew shouting a lot in a cameo, George Russo (who co-wrote) shouting a lot, Francis Pope (another co-writer) shouting a lot. Actually, everybody shouts a lot. Except Ricci Harnett as George’s smarter brother, who whispers a lot.

    The film is shot entirely on location, and it’s a film which knows how to use locations. The title sequence as Sophie journeys from estate to City is quietly telling, and there are occasional moments when George finds himself dwarfed by even quite modest parts of London.

    The film’s strengths are that it does at least feel real, and that everyone involved was committed to it. Its weaknesses are that the stakes aren’t high, and as a consequence of that we just don’t care. And the vocabulary is depressingly unvaried: whilst things are sweet everyone’s a bruv but when things are less than sweet, everyone’s a c***. It gets a bit predictable, as does the plot, and the ending tries to have it both ways. It’s a small-scale film which convincingly conjures up a world which is recognisable and believable. It also doesn’t overLoach the sense of wasted lives that it depicts. The scenes involving Sophie’s workplace are the least successful – George rightly looks out of place there, but even when we see Sophie at work there’s a feeling of this being an alien world.

    If only TURNOUT had been a bit tighter (though it’s not self-indulgent), and with a greater sense of threat (while still steering clear of melodrama), and just a little bit more sense of being a film, then it could have been something really quite interesting. As it is, it’s a bit too dull to recommend, but it’s still a decent project for those involved to have under their belts, in their caps and on their CVs. I’m sorry chaps, I really want to be more positive, but I can’t.

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