Flutter

Flutter

**1/2

Reviewed by: Paul Griffiths

We might not be able to afford the cinema tickets so much these days, but the banking crisis is at least proving a rich seam for some of the films showing. While fomenting documentaries such as Inside Job shoulder along with the solid Hollywood of Wall Street 2, there’s also space at the table for a little Flutter.

Director Giles Borg starts off down the dog racing, all diamond geezers and dirty rock soundtrack. Thankfully, he ditches the surely intentional Lock, Stock motifs soon after and shows Flutter to be a more infernal beast altogether.

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Joe Anderson (The Crazies) plays John, a sorted sort whose full time gambling pays his way and avoids nine to five banality. His lawyer wife Helen (Laura Fraser, Cuckoo) doesn’t mind and rather enjoys the windfalls, as long as he’s honest about his form.

Mysterious new bookie Stan (Anna Anissimova) then starts to offer him more unusual, individually tailored bets, with bigger purses and greater risks. Just a wrench of pain or a test of mental stamina to start with, soon John’s spiralling into a dangerous underworld of deceit and dare, with the stakes higher than he could ever have feared.

This is a simple, modern Faustian tale and John is led into temptation as much by his own greed as by the devilish, vowel-drop'd Stan. Compromise your morals for the moola and you'll get your comeuppance (we hope), is the uncomplicated message. The amiable Anderson is dependable as the flawed hero and gets good support, especially from Luke Evans (Tamara Drew, The Hobbit), though less so from Anissimova who fails to meet him halfway. She finds her feet towards the end, but for the most part she feels quite miscast.

Some of the bets seem a bit incongruous and the script isn’t as punchy as the premise. There’s some wry amusement as tongues are pushed into sardonic cheeks and I laughed out loud at Mark Williams’ stir-crazy cameo. Either more black humour or dropping it altogether would have helped even out the tone. Borg's assured direction and the cinematography of Christopher Ross (of darker Eden Lake and London To Brighton fame) maintain a noir-like chiaroscuro style throughout that certainly looks the part. Intacto and Angel Heart are lurking in the back somewhere, although their shadows are less supernal or menacing.

A slender slice of dark UK fun.

Reviewed on: 06 Oct 2011
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Flutter packshot
John is a professional gambler but when he meets a beautiful and mysterious new bookie his life starts to spiral out of control.
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Director: Giles Borg

Writer: Stephen Leslie

Starring: Joe Anderson, Anna Anissimova, Laura Fraser, Luke Evans, Max Brown, Mark Williams, Billy Zane, Ricky Tomlinson

Year: 2010

Runtime: 85 minutes

Country: UK

Festivals:

Raindance 2011

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