Turnout Review

Film Still
  • Turnout film still


Turnout turns out to be anuva urban genre flick when there’s scope for so much more.

George (co-writer George Russo) and Sophie (Ophelia Lovibond) are from different sides of the tracks. She’s selling shares in the City and he’s shottin' skunk on the estate. They’re saving for their first holiday and the deposit is due. Only, he can’t quite scrimp enough together with his Jobseekers and petty dealing. He needs money. Fast. Cue a harebrained scheme involving Novocaine, an ounce of coke and a sneaky £1,200 of Sophie’s savings to pay for it all.

George’s dodgy dealing with his girlfriend’s cash – and confidence – is supposed to create a more relatable story than your average ill-advised drug-deal. But their credibility as real characters leaves the dramatic tension anything but taut. While the support is strong (complete with a brief cameo from Ben Drew as a Stanley-wielding psycho), belief in the protagonists is a bit of a push. George, in his Wayfarers and tucked-in-top-buttoned polo shirts, is more Hoxton Hero than lager lout. Even more mystifying and misjudged is Sophie’s Bardot '60s-sourcebook look.

But it’s the frenetic flitting between their differing worlds that really holds back George and Sophie’s development as rounded leads. Debut director Lee Sales has done a fine job contrasting these worlds apart; George’s reckless lifestyle, accompanied by restless camerawork, is further underlined by the smoother, more composed scenes that feature straight-laced Sophie. But that’s it.

Turnout turns out to be anuva urban genre flick when there’s scope for so much more. Surely there’s a story, for example, in how this very unlikely couple came to be.

Instead this Hoxton caper is in many ways hackneyed. Despite being billed as such, a slice of London life like you’ve never seen before Turnout is not. The hopes of going straight ("After this I’m out!"). The drug-deal gone bad. The drug-addled droogs keeping him down. We’ve seen this one, haven’t we? Despite a slang-savvy and genuinely funny script (no really, the exorbitant use of the word 'bruv' is not an exaggeration) and a cast that certainly know their way round the ends, the trouble is that, with a plot that isn’t so peng and proper, Turnout is a lot of maaf and no bollocks.

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