Robert Sheehan and Sofia Boutella are at the centre of an engaging British crime thriller
Former Misfit Robert Sheehan and rising star Sofia Boutella (Star Trek Beyond) co-star in this engaging British crime thriller from Edinburgh-born director Charles Henri Belleville. It's based on the popular backpacking novel Go, whose author, Simon Lewis, has penned the screenplay with Dan M Brown.
Sporting his native Irish accent, Sheehan plays Lee, a motor-mouthed, dope-smoking chancer who is hiding out on the beaches of Goa with his significantly more sensible best friend Sol (Osy Ikhile). However, the sudden appearance of Vix (Boutella), a woman from their past, plunges the pair into panic as they swiftly realise that Vix's boyfriend, the revenge-obsessed London gangster Marlowe (Craig Parkinson), won't be far behind her.
The cleverly structured screenplay achieves a skilful slow-build of tension through the use of parallel past and present storylines, gradually revealing the full nature of Parkinson's character and making his inevitable appearance in Goa all the more effective.
Sheehan is a dab hand at playing obnoxious-yet-likeable and he's on fine form here, delivering some snort-worthy dialogue (you'll never look at The Little Mermaid quite the same way again) and generating appealing chemistry with both Ikhile and Boutella. Similarly, Parkinson makes a suitably sleazy villain and there's strong comic support from Rajendranath Zutshi (as peace-keeping landlord Shay), as well as a scene-stealing turn from Finnish actor Jasper Pääkkönen as Mike, a Buddhist ex-soldier who proves rather handy in a crisis.
Maja Zamojda's sun-drenched cinematography makes the most of the film's exotic setting, while Belleville's directorial flourishes (slow-motion, rapid-fire montage) deliberately evoke the film's spiritual predecessor, Danny Boyle's The Beach. That said, Belleville's grip on the tone isn't quite as assured, resulting in some jarring lurches between culture clash comedy and violent thriller, and a sequence involving a cow (a sacred animal in Goa) that feels misjudged.
Selected release from Fri 9 Dec.