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23 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Business is the business!, 8 Mar. 2007
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This review is from: The Business [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
As somebody who actually worked out in Spain in the late 80's, I can say without a doubt that this film gets it spot on. Almost.

I suppose this film resonates with me because it was the first time I'd ever been either abroad or even on a plane. I landed at the airport and waited around for two hours to be collected by a German nutter called Ralf, who skinned up a joint immediately we got in the car and offered me a beer from the crate he had under the seat!

The characters that I came across were shallow, crude and basic; almost caricatures. The "chaps" that were on the run were invariably working class hard men who for various reasons, had to, "have it on their toes" away from Britain. They weren't exactly MENSA members. Remember also that this was a time when no extradition treaty existed between the UK and Spain, there was no EU and immigration control was virtually non-existent. There was also a huge amount of corruption, as local officials realised that they had these sort of people over a barrel and could use them to get away with all sorts of things. (The Marbella Town Hall scandal springs to mind. This goes right back to the 80's and has only come to light within the last year or two. I also have a friend who still lives out there, in a block built in 1988 and named after the bloke that financed it - with great big bundles of cash!)

To say that Sammy is not scary is just stupid; one of the scariest people I met out there was just like Sammy, even down to the curly perm but half his size! A complete psycho who enjoyed winding people up until they bit and then using this as an excuse to batter them with whatever implement came to hand. I saw more than a couple of big rugby playing, tough guy holidaymakers who didn't take him seriously, get beaten to a pulp. Right in front of everybody. There were never any witnesses though, strangely...
Picking up the points made about Georgina Chapman's character. Yes she was totally without charm or humour but getting hooked up with a psycho like Sammy could certainly make you that way! It's plainly obvious that she only cares about his money anyway, something else that I observed with many such mismatched couples out there. Remember back then also, the concept of the size zero supermodel wasn't around either!

The music in all the bars, clubs etc was a complete mish mash of stuff from all years of the 80's. It's certainly not supposed to be in year sequence in the film. This is the attitude that eventually gave rise to the Balearic scene, of just playing whatever you want to suit the mood and not caring about whether it was "cool" or not.

However, the above notwithstanding, there are a few things, that just don't ring true. For example, the main one for me, is they would never have dealt with the Dutch firm outside their own club. This would have attracted far too much attention and would have been taken care of far away from any prying eyes.
The Mayor would, in all probability, have had Sonny "taken care of" for doing what he did. The scene where they are trying out the bullet-proof vests in the quarry doesn't quite ring true either. A shotgun fired at the range shown would almost certainly have had a few pellets hitting Sammy, not just on his vest! Still hilarious though!

To compare this film to Goodfellas or The Godfather is patently ridiculous. Both films are classics of the American Mafia genre; however this is not something that this film aspires to in any way. (Especially with the miniscule budget Nick Love had.) This is a "nice little" film. As Danny Dyer's Frankie says in his voice over, "As my life got bigger, my world got smaller." This perfectly represents the coke induced paranoia that was starting to gain a foothold out there before I returned to the UK and very accurately represents the claustrophobia that happens when engaging in a life of, "crime, women and drugs," in a foreign country where you and most of your cohorts can barely even order a beer in the native tongue. You all stick together like glue and are suspicious of any outsiders.

Please just take this film for what it is: A funny, black comedy / homage to the 80's, based on a unique period in British crime history that requires, as with so many films, the willing suspension of disbelief.
And it's so obvious that the captions at the end are a wind up! I mean come on, "Frankie went to Hollywood!" "Sammy went to hell" "Carly went back to her parents in Penge" etc (Check out the Football Factory to get the Penge reference)

It's a cracking little film if you don't take it and yourselves so seriously!
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Jan 2009 18:00:23 GMT
Your review is balanced and informative, nice effort dude. I have to say I thought exactly the same thing about the shotgun! And ye, the balearic music scene, people just play what the hell they like over in Spain. :-)
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D. Smith

Location: East London, UK

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