I can’t remember the last time I was so disappointed in a movie as I was with Nick Love’s The Business. Love, who arrived on the movie radar last year with his look at soccer violence, The Football Factory, sets his new movie amongst the expat gangsters and cons living on the Costa Del Sol during the 80s.

Young tearaway Frankie (Danny Dyer, who also appeared in The Football Factory) delivers a package to Charlie (Tamer Hassan, another Football Factoryalumni), the smooth local playboy, and ends up staying. Taken under Charlie’s wing, he’s introduced to the rest of the crew, including Charlie’s partner Sammy (Geoff Bell), a ginger-haired, hyper-violent psychopath, who has a slinky, trouble-making girlfriend in the form of Carly (Georgina Chapman).

The business in Spain is drugs. As long as it’s Marijuana then the local, boy-loving Mayor turns a blind-eye, but warns Charlie and Sammy not to start dealing with Cocaine, otherwise there’ll be trouble. However, when Sammy and Charlie fall out, Charlie and Frankie start importing Coke, and as the Mayor promises, that’s when the bad news starts arriving.

But the movie is too thinly plotted to sustain the length of the film, relying instead on the hyper-real, saturated colours of Spain—where the cyans of the sky, sea and Fila tracksuits zing off the screen—and the soundtrack, which plunders just about every hit from the 80s, including Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Welcome to the Pleasuredome.

Danny Dyer is vapid as Frankie, but luckily Tamer Hassan is suntanned charm personified as Charlie and Geoff Bell makes a superb screen villain, funny and menacing by turns. Nick Love’s script has a couple of good lines and situations that would make Guy Ritchie proud, but on the whole is an unimaginative, shoddy affair. It wants to be Jonathan Glazer’s Sexy Beast (2000) but ends up more Eldorado, for those who remember the BBC’s ill-fated soap opera from 1992.

It’s a pity because the crass 80s hairstyles, Fila gear and cocaine are ripe with movie potential and the Spanish backdrop hints at a better film. A really powerful, imaginative finish could have saved The Business, or at least made it notably average, but like limp lettuce pushed to the edge of the plate, it was not to be. As the end titles appeared, I blinked a couple of times and thought, is that it? before brushing the popcorn off my lap.

The Business (2005)
Dir. Nick Love
Stars: Danny Dyer, Tamer Hassan, Geoff Bell, Georgina Chapman, Roland Manookian, Eddie Webber
Genre: Action, Drama

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