Pleasure Island (2015) [Review]

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I had such high hopes for this film, but unfortunately this failed to live up to expectation. The trailer seemed moody and atmospheric, not too dissimilar to excellent British thrillers like Catch Me Daddy, Kill List and Dead Mans Shoes. All signs pointed to another gem to add to the collection.

With the plot resembling a hybrid of Dead Man Shoes, Taken and The Guest, it is your standard tale of soldier returning to regular society, but annoyed and unable to adapt to what he encounters. This repeatable storyline is not a negative, it can be immensely entertaining if executed correctly, but in this instance it lacks any edge to lift it beyond a moody and mostly silent film.

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It leans more to towards the comical gangster representations seen in the likes of low-budget football hooligan films, whose purpose consists largely of swearing and injuring themselves. The soldier tries to save the girl from the gangster while battling with his own family issues, each with their convoluted twists that take it further away from the realism that makes British indie cinema so exciting.

The lack of believability removes the thrill from the film, which is fundamentally what I tuned in for. I don’t believe that Ian Sharp’s soldier character is a legitimate threat, and I don’t care enough to hate the moronic gangsters played by Rick Warden and Michael J Jackson. They all just exist on screen purely to fumble about and get a bit angry at each other.

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I wanted to like this film so much, but without the edge to keep me invested in the characters, the silence presumably meant to create an air of discomfort, transferred into boredom and impatience. With all the foundations there for another solid British movie, I’ll keep an eye out for future releases from Mike Doxford, but this one misses the mark for me.

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