Empty Plastic makes for dumb thriller
Imagine a less charming Ocean’s Eleven, a lifeless Now You See Me featuring more unlikable characters than The Bling Ring and you may get a sense of what’s in store with Plastic, a wholly derivative, uninspired heist caper that isn’t worth your investment.
The film is based on a true story where a group of college students: Sam (Ed Speleers), Fordy (Will Poluter, The Maze Runner) Yatesey (Alfie Allen) and Rafa (Sebastian De Souza) find their lives threatened when they steal from a violent gangster, Marcel (Thomas Kretschmann). If they don’t want to pay Marcel weekly installments of $250,000, he’ll happily wipe out the debt if they pay him $2 million in two weeks.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that firm deadline is going to result in some fast-paced excitement. Director/Co-Writer Julian Gilbey and fellow screenwriters Will Gilbey and Chris Howard have no intention of making any parts of this film entertaining.
Realizing they need some help to pull their scam off, Sam recruits Frankie (Emma Rigby), the same girl he’s been crushing on who coincidentally works for a credit card company. Initially, Frankie seems like she’ll be more than just the film’s hot girl complete with obligatory bikini shot, but that ends up the case.
To add another wrinkle to an already plot-filled film, we get a subplot of Yatesey trying to convince Rafa to turn on his pals and branch off on their own scam. On the plus side, it allows Allen to shine in the bad boy role. Shame the script doesn’t fully convey why Yatesey has such animosity to his partners.
Speleers comes out best with what he’s got to work with and shows he’s got solid leading man potential. Poulter is largely wasted, but Krestchmann (Wanted) covers the calm, sadistic villain role perfectly. He is the film’s most steady, believable performance.
The script accomplishes that challenging feat of getting worse the longer the film goes on — and at 102 min. It reaches eye-rolling proportions by the end credits. While the first half seems overly derivative, the second half is where the film goes off the rails into check your watch territory as the gang takes their heist to Miami.
The idea of the gang using credit cards of high rollers to finance their payoff is sold, but Gilbey is more preoccupied shooting the boys at a strip club solely so he can devote some time to T&A. Another subplot involving Graham McTavish (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) is truly goofy and nonsensical.
Shot for $10 million, the film doesn’t look that bad with some decent, if not spectacular sequences until the ill-advised action-heavy final act. It’s beyond Gilbey’s range and feels tacked on to create some measure of suspense and excitement. While I wasn’t a fan of Harmony Korine’s senses-assault directorial efforts with Spring Breakers, he staged a beautiful looking film. Spring Breakers also more competently handled the action elements for half of Plastic’s budget.
In the end, there’s no compelling reason to waste the time sitting through Plastic. It won’t get you so worked up that you’ll hate it. Still, your time would be better invested watching all the films Plastic tries to mimic than to give this poor imitation your most valuable commodity. If you’re interested, pick up Plastic from Amazon.com here.
Rating: 1 out of 10