Best Laid Plans (2 stars)

Best Laid Plans

Predictable grim Northern tale that fails despite Stephen Graham's great central performance

(15) 108min

Positive arguments for the public financing of UK films will not be encouraged by the release of Best Laid Plans, a dreary miserablist fable haplessly reconfiguring John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men into the world of Northern gangsters.

Excellent in This is England and Boardwalk Empire, Stephen Graham plays Danny, a small time hustler and crook whose safety depends upon the protection of the gigantic Joseph (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). Although his guardian angel has the mind of a small child, Danny reluctantly allows Joseph to take part in regular cage fights organized by a ruthless gangster (David O’Hara), but is offered salvation through his relationship with good hearted prostitute (Maxine Peake).

Co-financed by the now defunct East Midlands Media and directed by TV director David Blair, Best Laid Plans is a predictable assembly of grim-up-north clichés, with little to recommend it outside of Graham’s solid central performance. It’s depressing stuff, less because of the subject matter than because it represents everything that’s bad about public funded filmmaking, offering little more than a temporary handout to the cast and crew of an artistically and commercially useless proposition.

Selected release from Fri 3 Feb.

Best Laid Plans (2012) - Official Trailer

Best Laid Plans

  • 2 stars
  • 2012
  • UK
  • 1h 48min
  • 15
  • Directed by: David Blair
  • Written by: Chris Green
  • Cast: Stephen Graham, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Maxine Peake, David O'Hara
  • UK release: 3 February 2012

Small-time crook Danny (Graham) relies for protection upon the gigantic but simple-minded Joseph (Akinnuoye-Agbaje), but reluctantly allows him to take part in cage fights organised by a ruthless gangster (O'Hara). This dreary fable reconfigures Of Mice and Men into the world of Northern gangsters; the result is clichéd…

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