“Best Laid Plans” is loosely inspired by John Steinbeck’s novel ‘Of Mice and Men’. Set in Nottingham, the film revolves around the relationship between a small-time thug Danny (Stephen Graham) and his friend Joseph (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) – a giant with a mentality of a little child.
Danny always seems to be getting in trouble, trying to earn some easy money, and this time he gets Joseph involved as well.
Danny finds himself in debt to a local crime boss, and he feels he is left with no choice but to manipulate Joseph into participating in a series of underground cage fights from which Danny can pay his debts.
The more Joseph is forced to fight, the more Danny gets to question his own motives. Despite that fact that Joseph, thanks to his inhuman strength is winning the fights, it seems like the crime boss (David O’Hara) is unlikely to let the two go free.
And when both Danny and Joseph fall for two completely different women, it becomes obvious that a choice has to be made before it is too late.
As stated before, the film is loosely inspired by John Steinbeck’s novel ‘Of Mice and Men’. The novel itself has been adapted for the screen several times since the late 1930s.
While never having read the novel itself, I quickly found similarities between this film and the low-budget 1990 action film “Cage”, starring Reb Brown and former bodybuilder Lou Rerrigno.
“Cage” centers on two Vietnam veterans (Brown, Ferrigno), one of which saves another from the enemy bullet, gets wounded in the brain, becomes this “giant with a child’s mentality”, and is also forced to participate in underground cage fights. And then again, a friendship is tested to the limits, as one vet goes out to save another.
In “Best Laid Plans” – a UK drama directed by David Blair – friendship between two men is the center of the story. Despite having underground fights, the film has very little to do with actual fighting, as it is mostly about relationships.
The film shows how two completely different men (age wise, color wise, mentality wise) fall for two women, which seem to be a natural choice for both of them.
Danny falls for a call girl Lisa (the stunning Emma Stansfield), while Joseph seems to be heavily attracted to Isabel (Maxine Peak), also a mentally unstable woman, whom he saves from the street hooligans.
To say the least, I enjoyed the film. Great acting from the leads carries the film, and the directing seems to have no flaws as well.
If you can handle the British English (as I know some have difficulties understanding it), then give this film a look or two. As the film’s tagline says – some friendships are worth fighting for.
And yes, there are bloody fights, a few brief sex scenes, lots of cursing, and other surprises (no animal killings as in the novel).
I am adding the trailer below as usual, however pay attention – the trailer presents this film as a “fighting film”, which it is not. So, don’t get fooled until you see the complete picture.
BZFILM SCALE: 6/10
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