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