6 out of 10

Release Date: 13th July (DVD Premiere)

Director: Christian J Hearn

Cast: Ray D James, Max Day, Stephen Forrest, Kieron James, Nicholas Moon, Philip Poole, Liburd Reuben and George Webster

Writer: Christian J Hearn


11118510-9324294349078529This no-budget crime thriller benefits from a sharp plot. The acting is above average by it’s largely unknown cast , who all give energetic performances. In fact every element from the camera-work, to the soundtrack, to the script is a cut above average compared to the usual ‘filmed on a phone in a lunch hour’ special populated by have-a-go heroes like Hooligans At War, Darkest Day, The Silencer or Stagger.  Going in with the worst expectations is probably this film’s secret weapon, as it defies the viewer at each and every turn. It’s almost as if some competent and talented yet very, very, very stingy filmmakers decided to have a day off from making a Hollywood film to go back to sharpening their skills on the guerilla tip. It’s worked because despite everything The Brighton Mob is one of the best surprises from the Kwik Save end of British cinema.

Five bank robbers all sit in a cell wondering why their most recent job has gone wrong.  One of them concludes that a copper is in their midst. We flashback to one of the bank robbers, Max (RAY D JAMES) last few weeks as we learn that he is indeed an undercover cop called Ryan. We watch and learn as he is coached by his superior DI Sabo (MAX DAY) in how to become a bank robber and how to gain the trust of the other gang members. Of the other four only one of the actors is a bit wooden, but I can’t remember the actors names but you’ll know the one I mean if you watch it. There’s also a Liverpudlian rival who’s a bit crap too. Other than that The Brighton Mob rewards us with a plot that blends Reservoir Dogs and The Usual Suspects with a good day at Sun Hill Police Station aka The Bill (I liked The Bill once upon a time). Unexpectedly, as the plot unravels to reveal a very deft double cross the film employs re-cap methods used in the last five minutes of each of the Saw films. You can almost hear the music from Saw in the background as the victims of the well written sting realise the shit they’ve ended up in.

Ray D James and Max Day in the lead roles have great chemistry, both well cast for their limited roles. It’s sad that a subplot about a prostitute is a flatly acted and badly scripted detour from another film. These scenes damage the main character’s credibility. Trying to give our lead more dimensions in these scenes just leads to unfortunate embarrasment and cliche absent everywhere else in the film. Whilst it plays well to a certain kind of audience who will lap this up, this still works hard to achieve more than its minimum requirements. It’s refereshing to see a film that doesn’t rely on it’s low budget and shrugs at the audience as if to say, ‘well I had no money so you have to make allowances for how shit this all is’. The Brighton Mob is good beyond it’s narrow limits and the writer, director and the majority of his cast impress for the most part.

6 out of 10  – Possibly the best ‘no’-budget crime movie I’ve seen since Britpic began. Smart plotting and lively acting park this one in another dimension from its peers.



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