Convenience review: BAFTA winning talent of McClure and Panthaki have seriously doubled their efforts to make a small film so big.
BAFTA breakthrough Brit Ray Panthaki is fast emerging as one of the British Independent film industry’s most exciting hybrids. One just has to look at the list of British films he’s been involved with not just as an actor but producer, beginning with the trend-setting Kidulthood. Here, Panthaki’s new film Convenience defines him not only to be a leading man but a filmmaker who’s curating excellent, ground-breaking films with sensible budgets, proving that the future of the British Film industry is very much alive. Alongside Panthaki, Convenience stars Vicky McClure better known as Lol from This is England and Adeel Akhtar from Four Lions who will also appear as the character of Smee in the mainstream film, Pan.
Many viewers may compare Convenience to a British version of Kevin’s Smith’s breakthrough film Clerks. Not only that, but also Al Pacino’s Dog Day Afternoon, considering the premise that outlines it to be a great British crime indie comedy. The plot is simple: Only 12 hours until clocking off time, Levi (McClure) chews gum, desperately bored, in a quiet petrol station convenience store, when…BANG!!! Ajay (Panthaki) and Shaan (Akhtar) blunder in to rob the place, out of desperation in order to a pay a debt owed to some Russian strip club owners/gangsters. After taking the staff hostage, they realise the safe won’t open until 6:00am. Desperate and with their lives on the line, they decide they must work there all night to avoid anyone raising the alarm before they get their money. However, as they struggle to deal with the feisty Levi, the police, a suicidal businessman, a dwarf cowboy, and a variety of odd characters that frequent the store through the night; the friends’ plot begin to unravel and they are faced with either being arrested by the police or killed by the Russians.
It is very inspiring to know that this film is produced on an £80,000 budget which will signify to young future film makers that a film of this small size can get you far, considering you have the right premise. The film is 90% set in a convenience store and providing the conversations and sub plots are effective, brilliant filmmaking will occur. Convenience is a film that will garner cult status, as it will teach film students how far a low budget film can go. The fact that it hits British cinemas on October 2nd is perfect timing, considering Vicky McClure will enjoy more success from the extraordinary This is England ’90, it will persuade audiences to see what else she’s capable off, and let it be noted her dry comedic timing sparks well with Panthaki and Akhtar. Her character of Levi, is so cunning, with her psychological tactics to make the feeble minded Shaan to be more assertive against the dominant Ajay that it will eventually lead to them bickering and in that process, Levi’s plans to overpower her captures may triumph.
The supporting cast of cameos from Verne Troyer, better known as Mini- Me is hilarious as well as in politically correct. His potty mouth towards Akhtar is so belittling, that no matter how small he is, you can’t help but want to pick him up and slam dunk him in a hoop. On the other hand the cameo of Anthony Head is also intriguing. With the little time he has on screen, he truly makes good use of that time as he provides us with his background story of why he wants to commit suicide, but will one of the store robbers show their good side and convince him, that life is sacred? Overall Convenience is funny, action-packed and sentimental. A Reservoir Dogs homage scene accentuates true fun filmmaking. The film is highly recommended considering the BAFTA winning talent of McClure and Panthaki have seriously doubled their efforts to make a small film so big.
Convenience review by Aly Lalji, September 2015.
Convenience is released in UK cinemas from October 2nd, 2015.