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You're Dead Review

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★★★★★

It’s as incommutable a filmic law as horror villains cheating premature check-out for one last stab, or violent laxative repercussions generating laughs: bank jobs, irrespective of preparation, contingency and professionalism, will always go belly-up.

Those unaware of such absolutes in this instance are Eddie (Ifans) and Ian (David Schneider), two East End spivs into whose laps land not only the plans for a lucrative bank heist, but the means to spring safe-cracking legend and vital third cog, Maitland (Hurt), from his current spot of stir. All goes like clockwork, until a second band of would-be larcenists charge through the door as our trio attempt their getaway, the ensuing confusion trapping both gangs inside while police and a shadowy government agency, Cyclops, lay siege.

Like the ill-fated burglary it documents - doing so in layers, back-to-front and from several characters’ perspective -this is an artful contrivance, not quite pulled off. Flynn is decent enough as the Cyclops supremo, and there’s good energy between the solid Hurt and a charismatic Ifans (though his cock-er-nee accent is pure Boycie), but John Benfield’s blunt, slovenly Inspector is a gross caricature, even within a movie skewing off at odd narrative angles and purposefully slipping in and out of genre.

This, indeed, is an arresting technique, but in striving for unpredictability, the storyline veers wildly from effective twists to non-surprises that are painfully obvious. However, if the execution is flawed and the picture left brittle as a result, Hurst has at least made his opening gambit a vigorous bid at novelty and genre-busting, and such courage may well prove more effective when allied with a better screenplay.