FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST

2.5 out of 10 

Release Date: 7th April 2014 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Manish Patel 

Cast: Dave Courtney, Jamie Bannerman, Lucy Drive, Jerry Anderson, Richard Angol, Sukhraj Singh and Manish Patel

Writer: Manish Patel

Trailer: FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST

Unknown-1The only reason I watch Dave Courtney (KRISH AND LEE) movies is because he’s a natural performer. Fair enough, he only seems to want to play one type of role, a hard-nut gangster at the top of the food chain, but he’s also very often the only person with any acting talent for miles around in his movies. Full English Breakfast is a tiny bit better than the majority of his other films but it’s still a long way from anything I’d call good. Along for the ride is Jamie Bannerman (CASH AND CURRY) in the lead role. His acting skills are reasonable but the dialogue on offer here is shocking. Really shocking. Poor Lucy Drive (VENDETTA), who has been kicking around these independents for a little while now is also exposed by the lack of quality in just about everything on show here. Director, writer and co-star Manish Patel (TRIADS YARDIES AND ONION BHAJEES) has over stretched himself as he’s just about competent enough to assemble something that resembles a movie on this occasion but he’s one shitty actor. And another thing, where did he get the idea that Full English Breakfast was the British equivalent of Goodfellas as the DVD box exclaims? It’s more like a vaguely scary episode of Howard’s Way without the yachts. Patel is an even worse writer than he is an actor too, even going so far as to throw in some dopey twists towards the end of the film that nobody wanted. Its’s only Dave Courtney (as always) that kept me watching to the end. Mercifully Full English Breakfast is not 159 minutes long but it’s still very long for a britpic, but it’s in fact 1hr 59mins. Perhaps on of Patel’s oppos truly thinks that there’s 100 minutes in an hour! It wouldn’t surprise me.

Jamie (JAMIE BANNERMAN – CASH AND CURRY) is an ex-soldier with PTSD who has been living rough near gangster Dave Bishop’s house (DAVE COURTNEY). One day he finds Dave’s wallet and returns it to him. It’s a weird coincidence and doesn’t add up when you think about all that follows but hey! Any way, Jamie gets employed as Dave’s driver and drug delivery boy. Jamie falls in love with Dave’s neglected wife Susan (LUCY DRIVE). Meanwhile, some gangsters from Afghanistan come looking for Dave’s previous driver Habib (SUKRHAJ SINGH) who went missing on the day Jamie showed up. And so on. It’s not very complicated and most of what follows rolls along in no hurry to get to it’s predictable ending with added silly twists.

Full English Breakfast has a number of points going in it’s favour. The static camerawork is a breath of fresh air compared to the recent batch of films that employed cinematographers with St. Vitus’ Dance. The previously mentioned Dave Courtney plays to his strengths and lots of full english breakfasts playing themselves (looking very tasty) brighten up the whole show. Actually, best supporting acting honours could well go to the cooked breakfasts. A low-budget film has never made me feel more hungry. However, we’ve been here before and we’ll return again and again as long as there is a market for these cheap crappos. Even having an Asian twist doesn’t add anything to it. It’s not as good as the comparably murky Triads Yardies and Onion Bhajees (in which Patel and Courtney co-starred). It has all the thrill and peril of an infomercial. Dave Courtney can’t be called on to carry these type of  movies on his back any longer. He’s another one who needs a leg up. He’s certainly better than peers like Gary Stretch or Vinnie Jones who have probably pulled the ladder up behind them.

2.5 out of 10 – Below average crime plod saved slightly by another natural performance by the mighty Dave Courtney. It’s got the grace of a lead bollock and also the brains. Manish Patel would be advised to pick one behind the scenes role and get spend some time getting good because on this evidence he’s crap at writing, directing and acting. Low-level megalomania has never been so apparent.

Review by Matt ‘Second Breakfast’ Usher below!

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

Advertisements

One thought on “FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST

  1. FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST – review by Matt ‘Second Breakfast’ Usher

    The great thing about Dave Courtney’s forays into film is that they are always weird: sometimes lively, often boring, but KILLER BITCH and SIX BEND TRAP are utterly unique (thank God). Unique also is FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST, though a synopsis may not make it sound that way.

    Our hero is an ex-soldier, down on his luck and reduced to sleeping rough in the wilds of Kent. But then one day he happens upon a wallet, and returns it to its owner. Usually when one performs such a kindness the owner is thankful but embarrassed and everyone goes on with their lives as before. But this is a film (of sorts). So our hero returns the wallet and is offered a job as a chauffeur-cum-drug-courier whilst his predecessor in the job is promptly golf-clubbed to death by the wallet’s owner, gangster Dave Bishop (played by Courtney). Our hero does his job diligently and asks no questions (well actually he asks a lot of questions, mostly revolving around the not-particularly interesting logistics of using a shed as a place to drop drugs off at) but he makes the mistake that every character in his situation makes. He falls in love with the boss’s wife. And she with he.

    See? As basic a formula for a low-budget thriller as ever there was. There must be hundreds of films with that premise, generally involving people like Patrick Bergin, Tracy Scoggins, and Michael Ironside. So what sets FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST apart? What makes it so peculiar and so special? And, at the same time, so dire? And believe me, this is a flat, stale and unprofitable exercise, devoid of inspiration, and about as deliberately entertaining as the test card. And yet…

    Firstly, there’s the amateurishness of it all. It’s brightly lit, like a BBC drama in the 1980s, and every set-up looks like a set-up. It couldn’t look less like a thriller; it has all the atmosphere of Crossroads and the tension of Countdown. The cast exudes apathy. You also get the sense that they’re trying to remember (though not very hard) what the director has just told them to do. But the same could be said for many other films.

    Maybe it’s the pedantic way in which the film-makers are very keen to explain everything. This means that a lot of twists that you didn’t even know were twists are revealed to be twists. But there’s also one (a very important one revealing the boss’s dark secret) that doesn’t work (because of the discovery of the wallet), unless it’s meant to be a nod to the coincidence-filled work of early Paul Thomas Anderson.

    Or is it the film’s unexpected restraint? Although there are three or four heavily blood-spattered scenes, the film is strangely, refreshingly chaste. This must be the first British gangster film for a couple of decades to do without any scenes in a lap-dancing club. Not a single drug is taken. Even more bizarre is the lack of swearing. It’s quite weird, and almost endearing, but I don’t think a single f*** was uttered, except possibly by Courtney, who, it might be charitably suggested, is going through a Brando-influenced phase in his artistic development as his attempt to create a natural screen persona results in him mumbling all his lines to the point of incomprehensibility. Maybe it’s the presence of Courtney which makes the film what it is? Perhaps, though even he seems to be on muted form this time.

    Or maybe it’s the rather delightful fact that whenever a bad guy does something bad (like smile sinisterly, or walk in at an inopportune moment) he is accompanied by a sinister sting on the soundtrack. (There are lots of bad guys – including some sneaky Afghan Al-Qaida drug dealing thugs and a rapacious black man but it’s not a racist film – there are bad white guys as well, though I think we’re meant to be vaguely on their side.) It’s these little things (like having the henchman smoke a cigarette each night in the same place – though I suspect they just replayed the same shot each time) which, when added together, make a film so strange, so out of time, so utterly unlike the Essex boy drivel which currently defines the genre, that it becomes a unique film – a gangster/terrorist/forbidden-love/drug-delivering/(unromantic) romantic/thrill-less thriller with a breakfast fetish.

    Perhaps the film is best summed up by the scene where the boss’s wife illicitly offers our hero some ham sandwiches. This scene (I assume) is meant to be crackling with erotic tension. But really you just find yourself wondering how the plate seems to have moved across the bed of its own accord.

    I must make this clear. Although I have enthused about the film’s uniqueness, I stress also that it is a quite incredibly ropey piece of work, a chore to sit through, and about as rewarding as working in telesales. The acting is dire, the writing is worse, and the pace is relentlessly pedestrian (the title sequence accompanies a long shot of our hero trudging across some fields and that’s about as lively as it gets). Jamie Bannerman has the thankless task of bringing life to a dull hero, and he fails, staring permanently into the middle distance as if he’s looking for his autocue. Lucy Drive plays the (inevitably imperilled when pregnant) leading lady who yearns for France with all the intensity of someone wanting a cup of tea. But yes, our hero and heroine do indeed run off to Paris on the Eurostar! The film has an exciting double climax in Paris and Kent! And it’s there where we find the only actor who seems to be trying. Nigel St Lewis plays a barman-henchman-drug-pusher-killer with a decent line in leering. Alas, because he leers with such alacrity the director (who also acts in the film, though like almost everyone else he gives the impression that he’d rather be in jail) decides to keep repeating this leer ad nauseum, killing the effect.

    The big disappointment about FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST is that it isn’t the cheerfully rubbishy, gleefully politically incorrect trash that Courntey has previously been involved in. It’s also not to be mistaken for GOODFELLAS, THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY or SCARFACE (all of which the DVD blurb invoke). It’s a coherent, undramatic story involving characterless characters in a situation which wouldn’t have puzzled Terry and June. It’s the strangely clean, un-grubby atmosphere that sets the film apart (not necessarily in a good way): these are villains who clean up after themselves not to avoid detection but because they like being clean and tidy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s