Review: Convenience – Attack the Block meets Hot Fuzz

Convenience premiered on Friday 2nd October with a real bank of talent behind its production, including Keri Collins, BAFTA winning director and writer for film and television, Adeel Akhta (Shaan) BAFTA Nominee, Ray Panthaki (A.J.) BAFTA Breakthrough, and Vicky McClure (Levi) BAFTA Winner (This is England), not to mention some seriously talented name-dropping opportunities in the form of Verne Troyer, Antony Head, and Tony Way, this 90-minute comedy heist satire is set up for some pretty big things and I was intrigued at what the result might look like.

What you get is no disappointment. I found it to be part Attack the Block meets Hot Fuzz. Collins delivers straight up comedy with a very British awkwardness and effortless silliness throughout.

The story involves two unsuspecting, albeit foolish, friends, A.J. and Shaan, settling on robbing the local convenience store to recover the £8,000 debt Shaan owes to two reassuringly stereotypical Russian criminals. Problems come when the money is locked away in a time-locked safe leaving the boys to fake-it as employees manning the store all night and taking its real employees hostage. Simon Fantauzzo (writer) introduces quirky and comedic characters to shake up A.J. and Shaan’s nightshift debut.

Performances are strong and believable; McClure is especially notable in her characterisation of the bad-tempered shop assistant with a sufficiently sad back-story to counteract her attitude. Her relationships with Shaan (Akhta) and A.J. (Panthaki) are authentic and sincere amidst the drama and hilarity of the whole situation. There is an attempt at a love story between Levi and A.J. with an odd (and I think misplaced) frustrated outburst from A.J. as he finds himself caught between telling Levi the truth or carrying out his criminal persona. Clearly Fantauzzo doesn’t want us to get caught up in this, or in Shaan’s learning difficulties, and never pursues them to any cinematic effect. However, combined with the charmingly shot camerawork, which has a natural simplicity, the storyline plays off extremely well and will have you sniggering throughout.

There is nothing pretentious or overly complex about the production. This stretches to the music, a kind of classical-come-rock infused soundtrack that can at times seem to intrude on the dialogue. However the music certainly adds to the drama of the funny skits and more violent episodes well.

It is genuinely funny. It isn’t ground-breaking in political content. It’s effortlessly stupid (if there is such a thing) and awkward enough that its British ludicrousness will leave you chuckling on your way home.

CONVENIENCE is available On Demand/DVD now.

Rosella Barnes

Image: B-Attitude Films

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