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Gangsters, Gamblers, Geezers – Review


Release Date: 20 September 2016
Director: Amar Adatia - Peter Peralta
Writer: Amar Adatia - Peter Peralta - Christine Edwards
Cast: Amar Adatia - Peter Peralta - Jessica-Jane Stafford - Richard Blackwood - Dave Courtney - Nicola Duffett - Jodie Marsh



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5 total ratings


Posted September 25, 2016 by

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Gangsters, Gamblers, Geezers Review:

I would like to tell you that the independently-produced caper comedy ‘Gangsters Gamblers Geezers’ (which looks at times like it was shot on a 3G phone) was a genre-breaking delight. It isn’t. It is a step up from a home movie – albeit one that ropes in the talents of comedian Richard Blackwood (as a Nigerian landlord), Jodie Marsh (as a keep fit instructor) and singer Kele Le Roc (as a blackjack player). It was written, produced, directed and stars Amar Adatia and Peter Peralta, only one of whom was on hand to introduce the film at the London press show – and didn’t mention his partner. Nominally it is about a pair of call centre workers, Krish (Adatia) and Lee (Peralta) who lose their jobs and need to raise £600 to pay their rent. They become entrepreneurs; we become depressed.

You know a film has a troubled history when it features on an imdb list entitled ‘2013’s films to watch’ alongside ‘The Hooligan Factory’ and ‘The Hangover Part Three’. The film was shot in Stratford, East London in 2012 – not that the Olympic stadium figures in the background – and bears a 2014 year of completion date. It doesn’t look quite finished – the soundtrack is less than polished, with background noise in one shot contrasted with a cleaned up audio track in a reaction shot. It has been picked up for distribution by High Fliers, who specialise in straight to cut-price DVD fare such as ‘Sharktopus vs Pteracuda’ and ‘Essex Vendetta’. To be fair, the distributor also picked up ‘1944’ Estonia’s biggest box-office success, but High Fliers has a habit of cheapening the title with a colon and an additional descriptor: ‘1944: Forced To Fight’ and ‘Golden Years: Grand Theft OAP’. So I guess they are ‘High Fliers: Low in Quality’.

Even so, you have to admire Adatia and Peralta’s desire to put themselves in the firing line. Orson Welles gave himself the starring role in ‘Citizen Kane’, but Adatia and Peralta’s film is more like Charles Lane’s ‘Sidewalk Stories’ (1989) or Robert Townsend’s ‘Hollywood Shuffle’ (1987). In those films, examples of the late-1980s renaissance in African American cinema, the director also took the leading role, partly for expediency (one less ego on the set) and partly to define how they wanted the mainstream to view them in the future. This practice has been revived with Nate Parker’s Sundance Festival success, ‘The Birth of a Nation’ (2016) about an African American preacher who inspires a slave revolt in 1830s Virginia. However, ‘Gangsters, Gamblers, Geezers’ should not for one moment be confused with these films.

This is a lark that depends entirely on buying in to the charm of its protagonists, portly, chronically shy brag-artist Krish and his mixed race best pal, Lee. It is apparent very early on that this is not their strong suit. They exist in a parallel universe where every young woman is a bosomy babe – Adatia and Peralta clearly only had one casting criteria. Krish and Lee lose their jobs because Krish invited a caller to submit a false insurance claim. In an effort to raise six hundred notes (you can tell the film is dated – £600 wouldn’t get you a broom cupboard in East London) they borrow money from their relatives and attempt to establish themselves as entrepreneurs, first offering a crappy delivery service (where Krish eats the chicken they deliver), then as male escorts (where they are chased by a cross-dressing dwarf), then as spies for a gangster infiltrating an illegal blackjack game, then as lackeys for another gangster who wants them to pick up an Irishman who owes them money.

When I describe it like that, it doesn’t sound too bad, even with the cross-dressing dwarf. But it is! It is like a story dreamed up for a lads’ magazine but edited by a no-nudity Puritan. Crass stereotypes appear in every scene. Nigerians, Russians, Irish, Asians – even Cockneys – are some of the ethnic types held up for ridicule. It’s no wonder the UK voted to leave the European Union.

In a subplot, Krish and Lee are mistaken for terrorists, but as the film was shot in 2012 and not 2015, Al Qaeda rather than Islamic State is mentioned.

The sequence when Krish and Lee enter an illegal gambling establishment made me cringe with embarrassment as unflatteringly lit women in bras and panties dance erotically for male punters. We are supposed to find the banter funny, but the film creaks through such scenes as Krish being seduced by Lee’s mother after changing a light bulb and a phone being retrieved from a toilet full of faeces.

The film builds to a car chase around a roundabout (should be funny, but isn’t) and then one of the fakest looking gun battles you will ever see – every expense spared. Adatia and Peralta don’t really do action; they really needed help with these scenes.

For his part, Adatia made the film to get himself noticed by casting directors. I’m not entirely sure this will work. He might want to try a web series next time – cheaper and easier to get attention.


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Larry Oliver
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One Comment


    An honest review of this awful film. The fact that as of today it is rated 8.5 in IMBd star ratings has lured me into watching this c@*p. How could it achieve such high praise? placing this among the top 100 movies? Is it American stoners that missed the bad casting, amateur acting, appalling plot, terrible production values,because sexism, racism, offensive dialogue and poor humour in the English accent is so charming? I think the answer is maybe more sinister, could it be someone is manipulating the voting and has gone too far pushing beyond any realistic threshold? I had hoped for more. It is however as good as any other film i have watched with Dave Courtney involved.

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