St George’s day is a convoluted gangster movie and the debut of writer-director Frank Harper, a (cor blimey Mary Poppins) East End barrow boy has played hard men in a succession of crime movies including, Rise of the Footsoldier, The Football Factory, This Is England, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Street Dance 3D.
Harper plays Micky Mannock, a 45-year-old diamond geezer very who runs a leading east London “firm” with his cousin Ray (Craig Fairbrass), that’s the cockney Fairbrass from Eastenders, Cliffhanger and Prime Subject, rather than the bald one from right Said Fred. But they are more like Guppies than Krays. Their “supremacy” in the Landan underworld is endangered when they misplace a massive drug shipment belonging to the (stereotypical bad guy) Russian Mafia. In need of plenty of readies to make amends for the loss of 50 million ponds worth of Columbia’s finest, they plan an audacious heist in Berlin (against the Germans, as the English did so well against them in two world wars and one world cup), the robbery would settle their debts and give Ray enough money to retire and run a golf complex in Marbella. As luck would have it the national football teams face off on the very same day; St. George’s Day.
St George’s Day is a poorly cobbled together example of a bad idea, adding further stain to a dying genre. The morality of the film (by the way a sense of right and wrong IS important in a gangster film, check out the Long Good Friday as proof) is woefully Mickey Mouse – our “heroes” may be psychotic drug dealers, but those totally ruthless Russians are the real bad guys, while the (Gawd bless ‘em) British crooks are redeemed by their national pride, their knowledge of military history and their affection for language “Let’s ‘ave it!” and “For England”, hardly Henry V.
The cast list reads like Guy Ritchie wannabe roll call with; Vincent Regan, Dexter Fletcher, Doug Piranha, Craig Fairbrass, Sean Pertwee, Luke Treadaway, Nick Moran, Mark-John Ford, Zlatko Buric, Harry Beard, Jamie Foreman and Ashley Walters, all going through the Cockney motions. Charles Dance seems to have accidently turned up to play a Mr. Big, (soooo much worse than Noel Coward or Ralf Fiennes in the Italian Job and In Bruges respectively) in the role of “proper” actor doing criminal big shot and the crowning turd in the water pipe is Keeley (32F) Hazell, a terrible actress symbolic of a terrible film.
For good measure, the script is woefully wordy, that recalls the worst excessive of Pulp Fiction era, film school wannabbes. St George’s day is also reportedly William Shakespeare’s birthday (and death day), which is only worth mentioning as the Bard was a right royal crowd pleaser in his day, would be hitting 1,000 rpm in his Holy Trinity Church grave at the depths that English scriptwriting has sank with St George’s Day
Part Lock Stock, part The Firm, part Eastenders, part Italian Job, all pony (and trap) St George’s Day is about as much fun as “taking a shirt from Charlie” and just for the record let’s stop pretending that football hooligans are noble warriors missing a war, they’re simply a sad thuggish, 1980’s punchline.