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The Business
cast: Danny Dyer, Tamer Hassan, Geoff Bell, and Georgina Chapman

director: Nick Love

92 minutes (18) 2005
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Pathé DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 5/10
reviewed by Debbie Moon
The early 1980s: South London boy Frankie (Danny Dyer) gets into trouble and is sent to Spain with a package for an ex-pat. All the smart criminals are hiding out in Spain, and Frankie catches the eye of club owner Charlie (Tamer Hassan) and soon finds himself up to his neck in drug smuggling, money, and women. But with the arrival of a new drug of choice, cocaine, these heady days of immunity and hedonism can't last...

The relocation of British crime syndicates to the south of Spain in the 1980s is a fascinating subject, and The Business captures the reckless self-indulgence of the era perfectly. It also has a cracking period soundtrack. Unfortunately, it seems more concerned with authentic detail than with plot or character. A great gangster movie details the difficult rise to power of its central character, and the things he sacrifices on the way. Frankie is simply taken under the wing of a more experienced criminal, and everything he wants lands in his lap. For most of the movie, he's either passive, or following orders - probably an accurate description of criminal life, but not something that encourages us to root for him.

The threats to their operation are easily dealt with, and much of the film is the cinematic equivalent of Hello magazine - endless montages of badly-dressed people overindulging. It's only when paradise turns nasty and Frankie loses everything that he becomes interesting - or indeed, engaged in his own story - again. Some excruciating and grimly hilarious scenes where Frankie and Charlie scrabble for the tiny sums that would allow them to set up in business again are by far the most interesting things in the film.

The Business appeals to a strongly defined audience - lads who wished they had 'Sarf London' accents, guns and girls like those on screen. If that appeals, you're probably going to like this movie - and there is quite a lot to like, with its quirky characters and sarcastic voiceovers. But in the end, the film falls short of what it could have been.

Extras - a making of, mostly boys-with-guns-style larking about, a range of deleted scenes, commentary with Nick Love and Danny Dyer, and a much more satisfying (if highly unlikely) alternative ending.

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