Thursday, 3 September 2015

Bait (2015)

Based on past successes, a low budget British movie with producer Jennifer Handorf’s name attached is something not to be missed. The latest, BAIT, is a crime drama that’s about to get a DVD release in the UK courtesy of Metrodome Distribution.
The unassuming Dawn (Joanne Mitchell) and her abrasively glamorous friend Bex (Victoria Smurfit) dream of owning their own cafe and moving out of the covered market corner they currently occupy, where Bex is regularly assailed by the likes of Charlie Chuck. Does anyone remember him by the way? “Donkey Woof Bark” and all that. If you don’t you won’t know what I’m on about but suffice to say anyone familiar with his stage act will find it a bit disorientating to see him in a straight role.

Salvation seemingly arrives in the form of Jeremy (Jonathan Slinger) who begins a relationship with Dawn and offers to lend them the £10 000 they need. It quickly becomes apparent, before they’ve even accepted the money, that Jeremy is a vicious loan shark, the grimmest of grim flip sides of Arthur Daley (with the same overcoat and much scarier minder than Dennis Waterman). Even though they refuse the loan, he wants money anyway, and we have already been witness to how violent he is prepared to be with other individuals who have been unable to pay what he feels he is owed.
Jeremy’s violence increases, threatening to involve the loved ones of the two girls, including Dawn’s autistic son. Unable to meet the payment demands, the only alternatives the two girls have is either to put up with the constant and escalating abuse, or turn the tables on their aggressor.

Not to be confused with the sharks in a supermarket creature feature I reviewed here, or indeed any of the many other movies with the same title, BAIT (original title THE TAKING) is a keenly written, well acted brutal crime picture that manages to stay just the right side of bleak thanks to some engaging performances and dialogue that sparkles, suggesting the actors were given some rehearsal time to hone their character interaction. I have no idea if this is the case, and if they weren’t, then the result is even more impressive. The direction is just fine, even though it misses some opportunities for suspense, but it’s the script and the acting that both make BAIT worth watching. The opening feels weirdly like a sitcom with violent interludes but stick with it and you’ll be rewarded.
       Those who sit through the credits to the very end will also be rewarded with a unique and quirky little bit that I'm not going to say anymore about. But it's well worth waiting around for.
Metrodome’s DVD offers a transfer in the original widescreen aspect. The preview disc had no extras. 

Metrodome are releasing BAIT on Region 2 DVD on 7th September 2015

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