High Heels And Lowlifes

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

It is rare for a screenplay to feel fresh, as if the writer hadn't shaped the plot in advance. It gives the film that what's-going-to-happen-next rush.

The story of two girls, who become involved in a bank robbery by mistake, has many layers of surprise. Writer Kim Fuller's ability to avoid the obvious and director Mel Smith's reluctance to descend into farce make this the funniest British crime comedy since Nuns On The Run.

Shannon (Minnie Driver) is an NHS nurse, Frances (Mary McCormack) a struggling American actress. They are best friends. After a boozy night, celebrating Shannon's birthday, they overhear a conversation between two crooks, who are in the process of breaking into the vaults of a bank in their street. They report it to the police, who take no notice, being too busy with Saturday night mayhem at the station. They decide to take matters into their own hands and demand money from the gang in exchange for their silence.

"There must be a blackmailing website," Shannon says, desperately.

They have no idea what to do and so make it up as they go along. They have a phone number and so start by ringing it. What they don't know, but will soon find out, is that certain members of the gang consider assassination the first line of defence.

Fuller's script is inspired. Driver and McCormack work beautifully together. In fact, Driver hasn't been this good - or looked this good - since Grosse Point Blank. The baddies have the bumbling boy (Danny Dyer from Human Traffic), the ruthless boss (Kevin McNally, playing a similar role to Ben Kingsley's in Sexy Beast, but without the loony toons) and the big nasty (Michael Gambon, as the man they call The Poof, in murderous form).

Just when you thought Brit flicks had reached rock bottom, along comes a movie to raise your spirits

Reviewed on: 19 Jul 2001
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High Heels And Lowlifes packshot
A nurse and an actress attempt to blackmail a gang of ruthless bank robbers in London.
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Director: Mel Smith

Writer: Kim Fuller

Starring: Minnie Driver, Mary McCormack, Kevin McNally, Mark Williams, Danny Dyer, Michael Gambon, Darren Boyd, Simon Scardifield, Len Collin, Jane Partridge, Jason Griffiths

Year: 2001

Runtime: 84 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK

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