Business, The (UK - BD RB)
Scott McKenzie says you should read this blindin' review now, you mug...
When Frankie (Danny Dyer) kills his mother’s abusive partner, there’s only one place for a 1980s cockney criminal to run away to, and that’s the Spanish coast. There, he hooks up with local gangster Charlie (Tamer Hassan), aka the Playboy, who offers him a place in his gang. His life in organised crime brings more and more success, but as the gang starts to push their luck by running cocaine, Frankie finds himself drawn to Carly, the girlfriend of Sammy, the only man in Spain who hates him.
The Business was director Nick Love’s follow-up to The Football Factory, which was the first DVD I reviewed for DVDActive over two years ago. From the beginning, it’s pretty obvious that Love hasn’t moved on too far from his previous movie, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since he followed up The Business with the vomit-inducing wobblevision of Outlaw. Fans of The Football Factory will know exactly what to expect—swearing, crime, swearing, cockney banter, swearing, casual racism and a little bit more swearing.
The 1980s setting is the main selling point of the movie and it’s the aspect of the production that Nick Love put the most effort into. Being born in 1978, I’m as much of an 80s nostalgia type as the next guy, but in The Business it’s very heavy-handed. Early on it’s pretty clear that the movie’s set in the 80s, but Love lays it on pretty thick, with characters playing with Rubik’s Cubes and Margaret Thatcher front and centre and even someone shouting ‘can you get me a Babycham’ through one of the surround channels. It’s all a bit too much, but it’s symptomatic of a movie that is no friend of subtlety.
What The Business has going for it is exactly what The Football Factory had going for it. The cast is pretty much the same and it’s obvious that everyone on screen is having a great time, so much so that it looks like this production was just an excuse for them all to go on holiday together. The relationship between Dyer and Hassan’s characters is warm and believable and the script is filled with quotable lines, even if the joke in the final shot is one of the cheapest gags you’ll ever hear.
Where The Business falls down is also in the same way that The Football Factory had problems. First of all, there are no positive female characters. This isn’t much of a surprise given that the story is a fifteen-year-old boy’s fantasy, but the girls on screen are too thinly drawn for my liking. The casual racism that Love threatened in his previous film is taken further with a comment by Frankie about Moroccans, which left me scratching my head about why it would have been included in the script. Finally, it lacks the scope of the movies it draws from, like Scarface and Goodfellas, but as an after-the-pub movie it provides the light-hearted British crime story that its target market are looking for.
As Nick Love states on the commentary track, The Business was filmed in digital HD so we should expect no less than the best from the video quality on this release. I’m pleased to report that the movie looks excellent—far better than I would normally expect a low budget British movie to look, even on a high definition release. The movie is intentionally colourful and the picture is very bright, with strong tones and impressive detail throughout. The blue sky looks particularly good in external scenes. I did notice very slight edge enhancement at times but I was making a point of looking out for it and it didn’t take anything away from the viewing experience.
You’ve got two choices of audio track—DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and regular Dolby Digital 5.1. Both tracks are in English and there are no language options. Nostalgia is the main theme of the soundtrack, so much so that the songs could be put together as a greatest hits of the 80s album. The music is loud, so unless you want your neighbours to think you’re a big Frankie Goes to Hollywood fan, you might want to keep your finger on the volume control. As well as music, The Business is heavy on dialogue, with very few gunshot-like effects, so while the audio track isn’t quite as impressive as the picture quality, it’s difficult to see how this movie could sound any better than it does here.
Top of the pile is the commentary provided by Nick Love and Danny Dyer. As with their talk track for The Football Factory, it’s filled with anecdotes, banter, cockney rhyming slang and probably more swearing than the movie itself. When Dyer pauses for breath, Love offers up plenty of interesting information about how he made a budget of two million look like a lot more. The Making of featurette offers up more than the usual promotional guff by showing friction between the director and members of his crew on set. We also find out the level of detail that Love goes into when dressing the set and how they got most of the props from eBay.
There are three deleted scenes, all of which would have slowed the pace of the movie down and don’t really add anything to the story. Most interesting of all is the alternative ending, which would have left the movie on a cliff-hanger, but when you think about the events on screen, it doesn’t make much sense. Next up we get two galleries, one showing concept art from pre-production and the other that is just made up of stills from the movie. The theatrical trailer finishes off the set of extras that unfortunately doesn’t contain any Blu-ray exclusives.
The Business is the filmic equivalent of fast food—enjoyable while it lasts but you know that if you only consume this type of movie, it probably won’t be very good for you. The movie looks amazing on this release and sounds pretty good too. It’s a shame the filmmakers haven’t gone back to add in new extras because a Superbad-style curse counter would have been a neat addition.
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page.
Review by Scott McKenzie
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 6th October 2008
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Extras: Commentary with Nick Love and Danny Dyer, Making Of, Deleted Scenes, Alternate Ending, Production Design Gallery, Photo Gallery, Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: Nick Love
Cast: Danny Dyer, Tamer Hassan, Geoff Bell, Georgina Chapman
Length: 96 minutes
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