For a film with shootouts, heists, and high-speed chases, Julian Gilbey’s Plastic is a strangely lifeless affair. The crime pic, about undergraduate credit-card scammers who incur the wrath of a London gangster, checks off all the boxes — underdogs in trouble, beautiful girl used as a love and kidnap object, slow-motion climax — of an action movie from 1999, with as much originality as you would expect from a film made 15 years past its expiration date.
Ed Speelers stars as Sam, the ringleader of four guys who support themselves with credit card fraud. (In an exposition-laden monologue, Sam explains that it began when he had to pay for his brother’s medical bills — a crucial detail for creating sympathy, but the film isn’t interested enough in character to provide a single glimpse of said brother.) What the guys are doing is not particularly defensible (nor plausible — in one scene, they rob someone and then ask him to wait 24 hours before calling his credit card company).
Their actions turn downright stupid when they rob the accountant of gangster Marcel (Thomas Kretschmann). The guys will be dead if they don’t pay Marcel $2 million, the pursuit of which occupies the rest of the film. Plastic has tons of opportunities for fun — who doesn’t love an English heist film? — yet it moves through the proceedings in a
A paint-by-numbers entry, Plastic‘s adherence to formula becomes stultifying.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 24, 2014