out of Five
Running time: 109
With its distractingly amateurish performances and frustratingly unexciting and unoriginal storyline, St George’s Day is a British gangster thriller ultimately lacking any style, taste or class.
What’s it all about?
Written, directed by and starring Frank Harper, St George’s Day is a tale of two infamous London gangster cousins, Micky Mannock (Harper) and Ray Collishaw (Craig Fairbrass), whose empire is under threat when a Russian Mafia’s cocaine shipment worth £50 million is lost under their watch. Micky and Ray’s next job is an ambitious Berlin heist, which the pair hope will clear their debts and set them up for life. With the Russians and the police both hunting them down, the pair decide to travel undercover with an English super firm of football fans, who are off to the German capital to watch England’s 3 Lions play Germany on St George’s Day, but it isn’t long before they discover a grass is in their midst.
Despite the dialogue being immensely flawed, it does occasionally bounce off itself, giving the necessary impression that Micky and Ray, who regularly finish the other’s sentences, may actually be genuinely close friends and business partners, which is, you might argue, essential in such a film that focuses on the two crooks. In the shadow of the soon-to-end Olympic Games, London is also once again depicted as ‘the greatest city in the world’ with St George’s Day stylishly showing the city in its best light, setting scenes in London’s most attractive locations from the stylish Southbank to Little Venice.
Despite the drama, there’s ultimately little suspense in Harper’s action-packed directorial debut, which is riddled with British gangster clichés and predictable turns of events. The support cast of female hangers on, particularly glamour model Keeley Hazell, come across as dilettantes with their distractingly stiff and inexperienced pillow-faced performances. As a result, St George’s Day seems painfully amateur and mundane. Having said that, both Fairbrass and Harper also have their struggles as the film’s sleazy and generally unlikeable lead characters, Micky and Ray; Fairbrass’ occasional frozen stare often fails to convince and Harper, in his weaker scenes, looks like he could doze off at any second. Despite sometimes being sharp and snappy, the dialogue also borders on diabolical with some lines being far too cringeworthy to repeat in print.
With its stiff script and humdrum clichés, even St George’s Day’s most exciting moments are mediocre and routine. Unless you’re a fan of Harper or any other particular member of its crew or cast, this is one grim gangster thriller to avoid.