5.5 out of 10
Release Date: 28th September 2015 (DVD Premiere)
Director: Justin Trefgarne
Cast: Elliot Cowan, Elodie Yung, Robert Bathurst, Cosima Shaw, Molly Gaisford, Nicky Henson, Louis Trefgarne, Adam Sims, Jon Campling, Josef Altin, Kerry Shale, Rufus Wright, Simeon Willis with James Callis, Harry Lloyd and Jonathan Pryce
Writer: Justin Trefgarne
A long time in the making, Narcopolis finally arrives on DVD. On the whole it has a lot of interesting ideas at play, yet whilst it may be ‘pound wise it’s penny stupid’. The overarching plot makes sense except small details don’t allow the scenes to add up so ultimately we’re left with a faulty film, which is a shame as it tries hard to offer something different.
Narcopolis is a time-travel yarn set in 2022, where all drugs have been made legal, no matter how terrible the addiction is. The story followers Elliot Cowan’s (HAMMER OF THE GODS) drug enforcer who keeps blackmarket drugs off the streets. He’s employed by a massive pharmaceutical giant who are making moves to ‘own’ the police force. When a corpse turns up of an unknown person who seems to have taken an unknown drug, our enforcer goes off reservation to find out why his fellow agents and bosses want to cover it up. Then a mysterious girl (ELODIE YUNG – STILL) turns up who seems to have the same drug in her system and the whole city races to secure her, but she keeps on time-jumping, the bitch.
One of the interesting aspects of the film which could have been explored further are all the highly functioning addicts like Elliot Cowan’s wife Molly Gaisford, who seems to managing on heroin, impatient in every way for her next fix, coked up cops and a the CEO of the pharmaceutical giant (JAMES CALLIS – AUSTENLAND) – on depressants. Elsewhere the sci-fi elements are used sparingly: cars look the same yet they have bar codes instead of registration plates; mobile phones have progressed little; and the world looks like it’s on the brink of an economic collapse. Shots of city skyscrapers at night look impressive and realistic, but on the whole the flashy tech has been left on the sidelines, only to be brought in when the plot needs a device to jump forward in time, etc… It wants to be Bladerunner but it looks more like Shopping.
I think the script was written for fans of hard-sci-fi at one point, then diluted, with the main plot left in place without any one to explain ‘what just happened<?>’. Come the conclusion, all becomes clearer but one cannot feel like it’s all been fudged in the edit. A few more plot ends could have been tied up?
The film benefits from a nice supporting cast that includes up and coming Harry Lloyd (GAME OF THRONES), James Callis and Jonathan Pryce (GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS) who makes a considerable contribution to the plot and isn’t a cheap cameo cheat. Elsewhere, Robert Bathurst (COLD FEET) is miscast as a dirty cop as he just can’t do tough, so one of the baddies is a bit crap. On the whole, it’s very muddled and would have benefitted from a bit of story streamlining as their is a good and sleak sci-fi in here somewhere. At the moment there’s too much meat and fat on the bone though. It’s interesting though.
5.5 out of 10 – Challenging yet muddling sci-fi that could have done with a clearer plot and smidge more action.
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Elliot Cowan: Howl (2015), Cilla (TV), Da Vinci’s Demons (TV), Luther (TV), Hammer of the Gods
- Elodie Yung: Daredevil (TV), Still, GI Joe 2, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011), District 13 – Ultimatum
- Robert Bathurst: Absolutely Anything, Mrs Brown’s Boys – D’Movie, Toast of London (TV), Downton Abbey (TV), Scoop, The Thief Lord, Heidi (2005), Cold Feet (TV), Twenty One, Whoops Apocalypse, The Lenny Henry Show (TV), Blackadder (TV)
- Cosima Shaw: The von Trapp Family, Papadopoulos & Sons, Piccadilly Jim
- Nicky Henson: Gozo, We Still Steal The Old Way, Draw On Sweet Night, We Still Kill The Old Way, Truth or Dare, Eastenders (TV), Me Without You, Parting Shots, Shine On Harvey Moon (TV), Anyone For Sex?, There’s a Girl In My Soup, The Death Wheelers, All Coppers Are…, Witchfinder General, The Frost Report (TV)
- Jon Campling: To Dream, Rancour, Razors, Mob Handed, The London Firm, The Curse of the Witching Tree, Dead End (2013), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – part 1
- Josef Altin: Child 44, Game of Thrones (TV), The Hooligan Factory, A Long Way Down, Vendetta, Now Is Good, Game Of Thrones (TV), Comes a Bright Day, Albatross, Eastern Promises
- Kerry Shale: Hello Carter, Blood Moon, A Fantastic Fear of Everything, The Trip (TV), Universal Soldier 3, Little Shop Of Horrors
- Rufus Wright: Arcadia, Eastenders (TV)
- Simeon Willis: Arcadia
- James Callis: Bridget Jones 3, Believe, Austenland, Reuniting The Rubins, Battlestar Galactica 2 (TV), Bridget Jones 2, Bridget Jones, Soldier Soldier (TV)
- Harry Lloyd: Anthropoid, Wolf Hall (TV), The Theory of Everything, The Riot Club, The Iron Lady, Game Of Thrones (TV), Robin Hood (TV)
- Jonathan Pryce: The White King, Dough, Listen Up Phillip, The Salvation, Woman In Gold, Game of Thrones (TV), Wolf Hall (TV), GI Joe 2, Hysteria, Dark Blood, GI Joe, Bedtime Stories, Leatherheads, Pirates of the Caribbean 3, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, The New World, Brothers of the Head, The Brother’s Grimm, De-Lovely, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Affair of the Necklace, Very Annie Mary, Stigmata, Ronin, James Bond – Tomorrow Never Dies, Evita, Carrington, Shopping, A Business Affair, The Age of Innocence, Mr Wroe’s Virgins (TV), Glengarry Glen Ross, Freddie as FRO7 (voice), The Rachel Papers, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Haunted Honeymoon, Doctor and the Devils, Brazil, A Ploughman’s Lunch, Breaking Glass