Vanguard // Unrated // $29.95 // November 25, 2003
Review by Don Houston | posted December 14, 2003
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Movie: Movies about criminals are quite commonplace these days. Ever since the dawn of the "anti-hero" movies, people seem drawn less to seeing the good guy prevail as much as seeing a bad guy survive. I came across a movie that was a bit different, yet followed familiar ground, that some of you might like. The name of the film is Flick and it was directed/written by novice Fintan Connolly. The movie looks at a small time drug dealer, Jack "Flick" Flinter (David Murray), who gets in over his head when a friend involves him in a deal to score more money.

The movie is set in Dublin, Ireland with the disco club scene being the backdrop for the story. Flick makes a living dealing drugs to people and enjoys the perks of his position, casual sex with cute women, living a life independent of the system, and not having to get up early in the morning (it even sounds appealing to me). He gets involved with a group of crooks much higher up the food chain than he in order to make a better life for himself. Things seem to be working out for him and his pal Des (David Wilmot) and the mobsters they make a pact with see some potential in Flick (but not Des, who is obviously a loser to all the people he encounters) so they green light the deal. The movie wouldn't be very interesting if everything worked out so the concept of police is introduced to the story.

The police know something is afoot and they want to catch the bigger fish so they jerk Flick's chain a bit and take him for a ride. They don't arrest him for anything, knowing that it'll look like he turned on the mob by releasing him. The mob takes the bait and starts interacting with Flick and Des on a more personal level, if you catch my drift, and he becomes the means by which the police hope to close down the syndicate. He has a few ideas about the matter but is powerless to stop the events that unravel all about him. Will he become another statistic or will he make his way through the mess becomes the question driving the movie.

Okay, the budget for this one was probably less than how much I spent on movies in the last few years and it looks it to some extent. The story has been done a number of times in the past on much bigger budgets but this one did seem to get several elements right that the big guys fall down on. The acting and direction weren't always great but they did show some promise on several levels and that made this one worth watching. I'm going to rate this one as a Rent It since I think some of you will appreciate it as an alternative to some of the big budget blockbusters on the market that are similar. The themes of a guy caught between two opposing forces with little power to defend himself and those he holds dear as well as the problems with dealing drugs to a receptive market in an un-accepting world come to play several times here. Some thought was put into it in order to prevent the movie from being preachy but the neutrality seems forced at times too. In all though, I think fans of the gangster movie will agree it's worth checking out.

Picture: The picture was presented in non-anamorphic widescreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It looked like it had a small budget but the fact remained that it was clear enough to tell the story at hand. Even the best moviemakers have to deal with limited resources so seeing how Connolly deals with the issues is a good guide to how he'll succeed in the future. There was grain and lighting issues but aside from that, it looked okay with few compression artifacts and none of the major problems Vanguard's releases used to have.

Sound: The audio was presented in 5.1 stereo surround sound English. The vocal track was a bit difficult to understand, Irish slang being what it is, but it wasn't as bad as many other low budget independent movies. The music track was a bit too loud as often as not but was appropriate to the material at hand.

Extras: none

Final Thoughts: The low budget nature of the movie was apparent from the beginning but the themes explored were done so in an open and honest manner. By taking a fairly neutral stance about the issue of drug dealing (which I think is wrong), Connolly is able to look at the realities of the dog-eat-dog nature of the business. For that alone, the movie is worth checking out by those who enjoy the topic.

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