In the opening minutes of Nick Love's highly assured gangster flick, young Frankie (Danny Dyer) sees a passing jet spell out the words 'Be Someone' above the concrete prison of his South London estate. Armed with this ambition, and with the blood of his abusive father still on his hands, Frankie sets off for Malaga. Within days he is embroiled in the dodgy deals of British heavies who have swapped England's dreary skies for the Costa del Crime.
Frankie's life on the Spanish coast is a playground of primary colours, soundtracked to dancefloor anthems of the 80s and dressed in sports casual. Once established, he follows the traditional rake's progress of the apprentice gangster, a story that's instantly familiar from Scorsese's standard-setting GoodFellas. Hooking up with perma-tanned playboy Charlie (Tamer Hassan), Frankie finds he has an aptitude for crime. But there's trouble in store from psychotic hardcase Sammy (Geoff Bell) and his unlikely femme fatale girlfriend Carly (Georgina Chapman).
"A CLUTCH OF MUSCULAR PERFORMANCES"
There is little in The Business that gangster fans won't find familiar. What sets it apart is Love's inviting direction that finds neon-lit beauty in the tackiest beachside watering holes and a clutch of muscular performances. The hilarious outfits and never-ending stream of cheesy pop hits provide a strong sense of period, and there's a sly sense of humour beneath all the salty geezer talk and bloodletting. Frankie's dry narration, "He was so hard, his nightmares were scared of him" betrays an amused, ironic mind at work. In all, it's an impressive take on a familiar genre.