Starring: Ed Speleers, Will Poulter, Alfie Allen
Genre: Action/ Crime/ Drama
Students Sam (Speleers), Fordy (Poulter), Yatesey (Allen) and Rafa (Sebastian De Souza) successfully run credit card scams and live a life of luxury because of it. However when they steal from the wrong man, a very dangerous man named Marcel (Thomas Kretschmann) he demands they pay him £2million to get him off their back. With the help of Frankie (Emma Rigby) who works as a data processor for a large credit card company, they travel to Miami to embark on their biggest credit card scam yet. However when things go wrong and loyalties are questioned, they are forced to embark on a far bigger scam; the audacious and highly dangerous heist of £10million worth of diamonds.
Despite having the ‘based on a true story’ tag, only elements of the actual diamond heist in this wannabe Brit crime caper are what happened, and though the concept may loom good on paper, the narrative build around the diamond heist makes Plastic a very poor film. The main problem with Plastic is the characters; they are hideously unlikeable and the fact they are not only criminals but also demonstrate many unlikable traits means that from the off Plastic is almost impossible to engage with.
There are lame attempts to justify the actions of the characters by setting the film in post-recession England with the financial sector being the true bad guys and our student protagonists unable to get decent jobs despite having degrees. It doesn’t work and is one of the many examples of bad writing throughout the entirety of what, despite its fast pace, is ultimately a very dull film and most certainly nowhere near as good as it thinks it is. Likewise the dialogue is misogynistic and contains swearing for the sake of it, but lacks the wit to get away with it.
Not only are the protagonists deeply unlikeable, but their varying character traits are contrived and clumsily written, while the story itself is uninvolving, full of flaws and clichés, and poorly made. There is very little tension as so many plot developments can be seen before they happen. Meanwhile the exotic Miami locations just feel more like a tourist board advert than anything else.
The diamond heist itself, which is supposed to be the film’s big set piece, also lacks tension as it contains many plot holes and relies on lazy contrivances. The diamond heist in real life may well have had intelligence and cunning, but how it has been altered to fit into the narrative of Plastic makes it feel like stealing a packet of sweets from a shopkeeper asleep on the till. Likewise the ‘action’ sequence of the film’s climax is very poorly made.
This is all a bit of waste as if written better this could have been a slick and enjoyable heist film, especially as the talented young cast are all decent enough but not even a master class in acting could elevate the poor writing. Though Speleers, Allen, Poulter and De Souza are solid, that cannot be said about Emma Rigby; though her character solely exists as a lazy plot device she is awful, and makes a lame attempt to hide her Cheshire accent. Graham McTavish chews scenery sufficiently as the greedy jeweller they dupe, with his American accent often slipping back to its very Scottish roots, Gerard Butler style. Thomas Kretschmann is of course a good actor when he wants to be, but here is happy to ham it up as a very generic character, but that is all he needs to do, and his character is still the most likeable overall.
Julian Gilbey and his writers have seemingly gone for a Guy Ritchie Brit style crime caper but witless, clichéd and misogynistic dialogue, a clumsily put together plot, poor directing and above all, deeply unlikeable characters make for an extremely forgettable film that never engages.