Film Review: Convoluted British Heist Flick ‘Wasteland’ Tests Your Patience

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Average: 5 (1 vote) Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – I’m not sure there’s ever been a heist film in which the heist is discussed, debated, and argued about more than “Wasteland,” opening in Chicago this Friday, August 2, 2013. We know from the beginning, with its “Usual Suspects” narrative trick of an arrested man telling a cop how he got there, that things went wrong. And then we get to hear about the plan for things to go wrong over and over and over again. Writer/director Rowan Athale thinks he has made a crime caper a la “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels” but the constant spinning of wheels drains the piece of its energy until a final act gets so convoluted that the whole thing falls apart.

Harvey (Luke Treadaway) was framed by a notorious crime lord named Steven Roper (Neil Maskell). As he explains it to D.I. West (Timothy Spall), successful crime bosses have to throw the cops a bone every once in a while to keep them off the scent of the real criminals. And so, not thinking about the potential for revenge, Roper plants drugs in Harvey’s apartment and gets him sent away. When Harvey gets out, he reunites with his beautiful girl Nicola (Vanessa Kirby) and tells his friends about a plan to go straight. He only needs the cash to join in on a business in Amsterdam. Where’s the best place to get the cash? Why not the guy who framed him?

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Wasteland” in our reviews section.

Harvey figures out that Roper leaves most of his cash at a club in an office safe. Time to plan a heist with best buds Dempsey (energetic comic relief Iwan Rheon), Dodd (Matthew Lewis, Neville Longbottom from the “Harry Potter” movies), and Charlie (Gerard Kearns). The four guys figure out a way to break into the club and steal the money. But how did Harvey end up in an interrogation room with bruises and gashes all over his face and how did Roper end up in the hospital? Things must have gone very wrong, right?

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “Wasteland” review.

“Wasteland” stars Luke Treadaway, Vanessa Kirby, Iwan Rheon, Matthew Lewis, Gerard Kearns, and Timothy Spall. It was written and directed by Rowan Athale. It will be released at Facets on August 2, 2013.

Photo credit: Oscilloscope

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