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Big Fat Gypsy Gangster
Big Fat Gypsy Gangster
|More Big Fat Gypsy Gangster videos|
A fast moving, star studded, rollercoaster ride of violence, madness and mayhem in this gritty British crime film. Bulla is the Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, labeled ‘the most dangerous man in Britain’
Big Fat Gypsy Gangster
A belated, comedic addition to the enduring British gangster genre – though suddenly topical given today’s events at Dale Farm – this strange vehicle for Ricky Grover’s psychotic Bulla alter-ego has some outrageously silly moments, but set in such a tangled, bizarre story that it certainly takes some perseverance to get at them.
It is no small achievement for the comic to have got this made at all – how many other stand-ups of similar status could have got the financing, cast and crew together? – and he not only stars, but directed and co-wrote it with Maria Grover (a relation, we assume) as well.
But perhaps another pair of eyes could have avoided some of the obvious pitfalls the messy script tumbles into to bring out the best elements of the comedy-adventure that only fleetingly appear, and only really gel relatively late in the film.
Bulla, if you don’t know, is a sociopathic East End gangster, fiercely loyal to his family but prone to the old claret-spilling ultra-violence, whether as part of a planned bank raid or an unhinged moment of madness. We first meet him as he’s released from 16 years’ jail, mostly in solitary.
Or rather we don’t meat him, as most of the first ten minutes of the film is full of talking heads explaining what a fearsome ‘human timebomb’ this character is, breaking the cardinal ‘show don’t tell’ rule of filmmaking. Every character is introduced, as is now the cliché, with a freeze-frame made into a poster caption, often containing information we already know, but we are missing the most important figure. If this aims to build up his mythical villainous status, like the shark in Jaws, it doesn’t come off, and is just frustrating
When we do finally do get properly introduced to Bulla, most of the action takes place in the back of a Transit van as the newly ex-con signs a deal with an American documentary-maker (one eye on a US distribution deal maybe) to make this very film, as his accountant Jik Jickles (a scene-stealing Omid Djalili) advises.
Then, as if suddenly struck by how static everything has been so far, Grover throws absolutely everything at the screen, without much care for whether it really makes sense. In an explosion of random sketch ideas, a tour bus is hijacked (why?), we meet a girl band obsessed with him (why?) and we are introduced to two of the three mystical ‘spiritual advisers’ he has (why?).
These gurus are played by the most unlikely trio of Rufus Hound, Steven Berkoff and Derek Acorah, while the girl band features N-Dubz singer and X-Factor judge Tulisa Contosatavlos so you can’t help but think he’s using every celeb who replied to the email. Yet only one cameo, really works – Peter Capaldi (who directs Grover in the Jo Brand NHS comedy Getting On) in a memorable scene as Bulla’s prison psychiatrist.
This section’s largely a burst of noise, as unpredictable and baffling as Bulla’s violent outbursts – a disconcerting feeling that’s underlined by the snatches of him dancing or philosophising in a white room, possibly representing his inner monologue.
There are some nice moments amid all this, though. Bulla’s ‘we were so poor…’ speech is quietly surreal, and while the gay ex-cop who is our anti-hero’s nemesis is every much as cartoonish as the other characters, the cheap sight gags his too-short kimono offers are charmingly immature.
When, after all this, we get to the nub of the story, the film really starts to work. Seems Bulla needs to raise some cash to save his beloved, aggressively batty Aunt Queenie’s boozer – and the only way to do that in the gypsy world from which he hails is by stealing or fighting. And the solution he comes up with is hilarious, if hardly politically correct.
There’s a sub-plot involving a matter of honour with Djalili’s character, that doesn’t bear much logical scrutiny, but gives the Iranian some reason to be on screen, which is always welcome even if you might want to obliterate the memory of his hirsute torso from your memory. Watch out, too, for a number of comedians in cameos, from Ninia Benjamin to Michael Smiley.
The film’s personality is as random as Bulla’s; well-intentioned but misguided, never quite sure what it is, or what it wants to do next. One such mood swing comes in the closing scenes which show a more tender side to our psycho, an unexpected and out-of-character moment that allows Grover to demonstrate his formidable acting chops.
In all, a bit of mess, redeemed by some great moments. But would you really expect more… after all, how many great films are named after faddish TV shows?
|Date of live review: Monday 19th Sep, '11|
Review by Steve Bennett
I thought it had some great moments and the disjointed style was a deliberate attempt to add to the conundrum of personalities that define Bulla.The syringe stabbing seen and the cage fight game being described to Bulla stood out for me but all in all I think Ricky and the team did great and at £8.99 Not to buy it would be "very,very naughty!"
I was surprised at your review. I thought this movie was so so funny,I was laughing all the way through,I have seen many British comedy movies. OK I am not paid critic but I know what makes a comedy movie and that is laughing when you see one so this one is a great one. Too many comedies spent so much time on what you list above and forget to be funny. This film is definitely worth watching and I hope it gets the credit it deserves. It's a comedy, its very funny and has a great cast of actors and comedians in it.
Omid Djalili 2008 tour
Omid Djalili: Tour Of Duty
Witching Hour II: The Harum Scarum!
Kings Of The Road
BBC New Comedy Awards Grand Final 2002
Omid Djalili at the Queen's Hall
Omid Djalili: Behind Enemy Lines Perrier nominee
Ricky Grover: Who's The Guv'nor
A Seriously Funny Attempt To Get The SFO in The Dock
Malcolm Hardee tribute show
Secret Policeman's Ball 2006
Stand Up Get Down
Omid Djalili: Live 2008
Omid Djalili: Work in Progress
Omid Djalili Live [Fringe 2013]