Plastic – Julian Gilbey, 2014, 15
Netflix rates it: 3.5/5
I rate it: 2/5
Julian Gilbey’s Plastic follows a group of university students who successfully steal and scam others out of their credit cards in order to secure a steady stream of money. After blackmailing and stealing a briefcase from an associate of a high-profile mobster (Marcel; portrayed by Thomas Kretschmann), the students realise they have gotten in too deep and are forced to enlist the help of a classmate working at a credit card company to pay him off. Eventually, the team have to resort to plan B, attempting to carry out a diamond heist!
According to the opening titles, Plastic is based on true events, although it is questionable just how much of the film did happen in real life as the amount of mistakes made by the scammers begs the question of how they managed to successfully run the scheme for so long previously. Although, as seems to be the case with all films claiming to be ‘based on true events,’ this does make it just that little bit more intriguing and interesting to watch.
The ending of this film is probably the most interesting part, with most action occurring towards the end and the conclusion being far more entertaining than the build-up. It is not the most expected conclusion, either, which is pleasantly surprising considering the predictability of the rest of the film.
With a promising cast (Ed Speelers, Alfie Allen, Will Poulter, Sebastian De Souza & Emma Rigby), it is slightly disappointing to discover that their characters are not the most enjoyable to watch on screen. It isn’t the fact that they’re easy to dislike (because, well, what can you expect from a group of scammers), it’s more the fact that it seems impossible to get a real sense of who they are or where they come from, which in turn makes it difficult to empathise with the characters. Fordy (Poulter) is frequently seen in alarmingly obvious disguises of fake beards accompanied by fake accents, which makes the film seem almost like it’s mocking the heist film genre, which would be great if that were the intention of Plastic. However, for a more serious film, this does make it hard to overlook. As great an actor as Poulter appears to be in his other works (such as We’re The Millers), this does not seem to work in his favour. Furthermore, Frankie (Rigby), who starts off intelligent and actually quite likeable, becomes less interesting in her own right as the film progresses, which is a shame as there is a complete lack of female characters otherwise.
It isn’t too difficult to see why Plastic has such a low rating on sites such as Rotten Tomatoes, however the fact that it’s based on a true story does have a certain draw. Additionally, despite being kind of clumsy for a heist film, it retains much of the excitement and action of the genre so may be an appealing watch for fans of that type of film. It doesn’t take up too much brainpower either, so perfect for a study break!