4 out of 10

UK/USA co-production

Release Date: 24th August 2015 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Mark Jackson & Simon Kassianides

Cast: Mark Jackson, Simon Kassianides, Nick Ullett, Mustafa Shakir, Danny Del Toro, Myia Ingoldsby, Nadine Crocker with Rob Locke and Steve Pound

Writer: Mark Jackson


Review below by Matt Usher


  • Simon Kassianides: Desert Dancer, Agents of SHIELD (TV), How To Train Your Dragon 2 (voice)
  • Nick Ullett: Down and Out In Beverly Hills

One thought on “DIAMOND GEEZERS

  1. Review by Matt ‘Fugazi’ Usher

    Vanity, thy name is an under-employed over-egotistical actor called Mark Jackson. Mr Jackson, or Jacko (his nickname according to the unimpeachable IMDB) (and one inherited from no fewer than two previous generations of his deeply unimaginative family) is a master of the martial arts, a stuntman, and a fledgling filmmaker with enthusiasm, diligence and an ability to get things sorted. In DIAMOND GEEZERS (aka GEEZERS, GEEZAS and possibly THUGS, MUGS AND DRUGS) he sorts many jobs: he writes, co-directs, produces, edits, does the special effects and the sarnies. And he’s also the star. And yet his on-screen persona is the soul of modesty; one would hardly have him down for a low-level egomaniac. A prat maybe, but not an egomaniac. DIAMOND GEEZERS is shot through with the feeling that all those involved were having a good time, no doubt due to Jacko’s inspirational leadership. Sadly the enthusiasm is not infectious enough to reach the audience.

    Jacko plays one of life’s losers: Dodger, eldest son of one of London’s hardest hard men. But Dodger is a disappointing failure. Proof: he wears a tracksuit. We join the action as Dodger’s dad and his acolytes beat a man to death for comedy purposes. The filmmakers, perhaps sensing that they’re not endearing these characters to the audience add context by showing that their victim is a pornographer with an interest in under-age girls. Now it’s OK to kill him, especially as one of the girls in question is Lilly, Dodger’s sister. She’s a bit of a slapper. We know this because the words ‘a bit of a slapper’ appear on screen whilst Dodger says the same thing in his role as narrator. Similar would-be hilarious captions and voice-overs recur repeatedly throughout the film to demonstrate what a zany film it is. It’s a sign of Jacko’s ‘unique vision’. Probably. (All quotes courtesy Jacko’s own profile on the unimpeachable IMDB.)

    Lilly is disappointed to find her film career has been cut short so abruptly, so she steals some cash off her dad (hidden in a punch-bag) (the cash is in the punch-bag not her dad) (that would be weird) (though it wouldn’t have surprised me) (it’s that sort of film) and heads to Hollywood. It falls to Dodger to get her and the money back. Tribulations ensue. Gangster dwarfs, transvestite gangsters, gay gangsters, violent kitchen staff, a Welshman, a not-particularly fatale femme fatale, a bribe-taking boxer and a ‘hipster bookie’ (that’s what it says on the DVD blurb) all turn up as the plot attempts and fails to emulate Guy Ritchie’s debut (Jacko doesn’t list Ritchie among his influences).

    A so-so set-up, not as wacky as it thinks it is but one which has some potential. I can see how this might have worked. With a decent script, good actors, some well-chosen locations, some good jokes and a director who can balance comedy and menace, this might well have been a rollicking rompy sort of film, simultaneously funny and dark. I can definitely see what Jacko had in mind. And I admire his determination to have a go at something off-kilter.

    Unfortunately, the vision in Jacko’s mind has already been realised (much more successfully) by his heroes like Tarantino. Jacko has nothing to add to the tradition.

    OK, he doesn’t have two farthings to rub together but surely he could have concocted some half-decent dialogue, invented some credibly bonkers characters (rather than caricatures so broad Crackerjack would’ve rejected them), and maybe come up with a plot? Instead there’s a succession of almost vaudevillian scenes, peppered with attempts at ‘edgy’ humour and racist jokes.

    Jacko cites Tarantino, Jarmusch, Refn and Edgar Wright as his role models, and he aims to ‘become the complete filmmaker with a unique vision’. His film attempts to be comically outrageous, nonchalant, unexpected and brutal, like an amalgam of his heroes’ works. But where he falls down the crevasse of ignominy is through his hopeless misunderstanding of what makes those other filmmakers tick. All Jackson sees is violent gangsters and flippant comedy. He misses character, atmosphere, situation, context. He seems to think that goofing about with a bunch of untalented buddies somehow constitutes acting. The cast are, to their eternal credit, both enthusiastic and willing. But so were the Gestapo.

    The defence for this film would run along these lines: it’s tongue in cheek, it’s not serious, it’s a spoof, a romp, it’s meant to be watched by drunk mates with low IQs, what do you expect when it’s made for no money by some drunk mates with low IQs?

    All of which is nonsense. DIAMOND GEEZERS is quite staggeringly bad at every conceivable level.

    Let us ignore the back-projection used in scenes set in cars (after all, it was good enough for Hitchcock, and anyway I’m sure it’s meant to be an ironic, witty, knowing, clever pastiche or homage or something, and not the final straw demonstrating the hopeless incompetence of all involved). Let us pass over the appalling acting, particularly from those members of the cast who are trying to be funny (most of them). Let us avoid the film’s bizarre sexual hypocrisy – having repeatedly established that the hero’s sister is only 17, and that anyone wanting to put her in a porn film deserves to be killed, the film nevertheless manages to strip her naked for a sex scene. Let us even excuse the dwarf and the drag queens who I’m sure are there in a taboo-busting inclusive way rather than in any way that might be considered offensive or patronising. And let us even set aside our hero’s casual racism. No, what really aggravates, is that it thinks it’s good. I imagine that Jacko, should he ever cast an eye over this review, would say ‘but it’s meant to be that way – it’s deliberate – it’s a send-up of bad film-making’. Or maybe it’s just bad film-making. DIAMOND GEEZERS is a nasty, pathetic, self-satisfied festival of dross of the lowest order (and anyone giving it 6/10 is a ninny).

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