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New Release Review - Plastic

A group of young credit card fraudsters attempt to settle their debt with a dangerous criminal.

Directed by: Julian Gilbey
Starring: Ed Speleers, Will Poulter, Alfie Allen, Emma Rigby, Thomas Kretschmann, Sebastian De Souza


To pay their way through business school, Sam (Speelers) and Fordy (Poulter) run a lucrative line in credit card fraud, using stolen cards to purchase goods, which they then sell on to their fellow students. Under their employ are the volatile coke addict Yatesy (Allen) and the naive Rafa (de Souza), who land the quartet in serious trouble after ripping off gangster Marcel (Kretschmann), who sets a figure of £2 million to release the boys from his debt. Enlisting Frankie (Rigby), a data processor for a credit card company, through duplicitous means, the group heads off to Miami in an attempt to raise the money through a series of scams.
Plastic could well be subtitled Ocean's 14, that number representative of the mental age of the film's target audience. If you asked the average 14-year-old British male what they'd like to see in a film, they'd probably answer with the various components that make up Julian Gilbey's film: wall to wall glamour models and ex Hollyoaks actresses in miniscule bikinis, a soundtrack of pounding dance music, over the top shootouts and moronic comedy. For all these extreme elements, the movie is deathly dull, the only energy on display coming from the many unsubtle placements of a popular caffeine heavy soft drink.
If you thought 1969's The Italian Job pandered to the "England Away" mentality, you ain't seen nothing yet. The entire premise of Plastic revolves around the notion that English criminals are somehow not as evil as their foreign counterparts. The "heroes" of the film, however, are a loathsome bunch, stealing from the rich and selling to the middle class, and are quite happy to dish out physical violence against the elderly. It's impossible not to feel this bunch of reprobates deserve the various punishments awaiting them. 
The xenophobic element is bad enough - quips about Poles stealing jobs that they're not capable of performing, Americans portrayed as idiots easily swayed by greed, and the notion that all dark-skinned people look alike enough that Rafa can pose as an Arab prince - but it's made even more reprehensible by the minstrel casting. We have a Polish goon, improbably named Tariq, played by an actor of clearly Turkish ethnicity, a dumb American played by a Scotsman, and a villain with a French name played by a German adopting what sounds like a Danish accent. Clearly all suitable actors were unwilling to take part in such cultural stereotyping.
An opening title card informs us the movie's events are based on a true story. I'm sure this is loosely the case but I haven't been able to find any information on just what real life event inspired this film, and I'm pretty sure a massive machine gun fight in a London hotel, as seen here, would have made the news.
If your teenage son harasses you into buying a ticket for Plastic, don't put it on your card. This certainly isn't a movie worth accruing debt for.
3/10


Eric Hillis

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