Reviewed by: Mimmo

The British crime caper takes a spin out of control in Spivs.

Gentleman conman Jack (Ken Stott) lives off his wits and runs a team of small-time heisters. Each has a role to play - his adopted son Steve (Nick Moran), a sharp-suited huckster, and sexy Jenny (Kate Ashfield), the bait for the men who fall victim to their scams, including Jack Dee in a small dramatic part.

Steve and Jenny have bigger ambitions, but keep quiet when Jack enrols them in an elaborate set-up that has them stealing from bigger thieves. When a hijacked lorry turns out to have people and not cigarettes inside, they realize that they're treading on the toes of the Russian mafia.

While most of the immigrants run into the night, two children, a brother and sister, are left behind. At this point the focus of the film shifts, as Jack can't bring himself to abandon them to their fate. While he hopes to track down their family in London, Steve and Jenny work out their own big time scam, only to find themselves in a trap set up by the Russians.

The film is a surprising mix of gang thriller and Stephen Frears's Dirty Pretty Things. It didn't make much of a splash on its cinematic release and isn't the sort of film that profits in any way from being seen on DVD. It comes across as a film made by actors with more talent than the script can serve.

The twist is well managed, and we get a glimpse of an underworld different from the one that crime films usually glamorise, of human trafficking and the sex trade. If only the director could have taken either of these things further, and taken the film out of the B grade.

Reviewed on: 23 Apr 2005
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Cockney con men bite off more than they can chew.
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Amber Wilkinson ***1/2

Director: Colin Teague

Writer: Mike Loveday, Colin Teague, Gary Young

Starring: Ken Stott, Nick Moran, Kate Ashfield, Linda Bassett, Dominic Monaghan, Jack Dee, Nadia Ward, Christos Zenonos, Roshan Seth, Tamer Hassan, Rita Ora

Year: 2004

Runtime: 91 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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Dirty Pretty Things