Finding an original comedy these days is about as rare as walking down the street and coming across a twenty pound note. We wander through our daily lives hoping that it will happen, but alas, we are more often than not met with little more than a pile of rusty penny. As such, when we are fortunate enough for a gentle breeze to joyfully flutter something wonderful across our path, we are filled with a sense of unexpected happiness at our lucrative find.
Amidst a sea of dirty coppers comes British director Keri Collins` delightful new film Convenience, a refreshing take on the age-old heist caper starring an array of up-and-coming actors, along with some surprisingly seasoned cameos.
Ray Panthaki (28 Days Later, Ali G) and Adeel Akhtar (Four Lions, The Dictator) star as two hapless young friends who, after accidentally spending over eight thousand pounds at a strip club decide to hold up a petrol station in order to pay off their debts to the Russian mafia. Upon taking the management hostage, however, they discover that the safe is on a time lock, and are unwittingly forced into working a night shift at the garage until the safe opens the following morning.
Manipulating and manipulated by garage employee Levi (a wonderfully calculating Vicky McClure – This is England, Broadchurch), the pair face their inner insecurities, Stockholm syndrome and insane late night customers with hilarious results.
With the vast majority of the film set in the small confines of the petrol station shop, it is really up to the three main players to hold our attention, which they do with aplomb. Panthanki is both charming and ridiculous as Ajay, the schemer of the pair, whilst Akhtar`s Shaan is a lovable halfwit who, through a wonderfully deep and moving performance, truly wins over the audience`s affections. As tension wears thin between our antiheroes, their true colours come to surprising light.
Punctuating the film beautifully is a steady stream of hilarious cameos, from Verne Troyer`s wickedly offensive “baby in a Stetson”, to Anthony Head`s astonishingly touching alcoholic with a death-wish. There`s also a foul-mouthed octogenarian and a pair of upper-class stoners just to add even more madness to the mix. For anyone who has worked the night shift in retail, however, these caricatures are not a million miles from familiar.
Dark, daft, but with a solid gold heart, Convenience plays out like a British Clerks. Showcasing some fine young talent, it`s certainly a film to while away the wee hours with.
Dir: Keri Collins
Scr: Simon Fantauzzo
Starring: Ray Panthaki, Vicky McClure, Adeel Akhtar
Prd: Ray Panthaki
DOP: Stil Williams
Run Time: 90 mins
Convenience is out in cinemas from 2 October 2015.