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Going Off, Big Time Review

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After nastiness in a Liverpool pub, fresh-faced Fitzmaurice (who also scripted) narrates flashbacks that explain how an accidental jail spell turned him into a gangster. In stir, he learns from old lag Hill how to be a top-bunk survivor and befriends the laddish but cracked Dominic Carter. On the outside, he peddles E from an ice-cream van for a minor bigwig, then gets a firm together with Carter and takes over the club drugs concession, branching into building site protection racketry.

★★★★★

Fitzmaurice has a fair Mean Streets relationship with Carter, a comedy crook who is also a real liability to his friends. The writing is fair (though cliche ridden, which takes some forgiving if you're going to see it through), the plot shifts along at a reasonable pace, but the whole enterpirise just isn't strong enough to stop that feeling of 'another British gangster film'. It's biggest enemy is timing - it's arrived too late in the cycle to have much impact, and is destined to be remembered as having a couple of blokes from Phoenix Nights in it.

The 'Pool setting is fresh and it's a cut above Essex Boys - but we've been here too recently and too often.

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