"The central idea may not be entirely original (and neither are the twists when it unfolds) but with some good humour and likeable characters that is no problem"
The classic British caper-heist, right from its original roots in the Ealing comedy, traditionally tends to revolve around mockney gangsters delving in to a job that is potentially high on both risk and reward.
Jack Spring and Paul Stephenson’s Three Day Millionaire moves the traditional location to the northern fishing town of Grimsby and makes the central players trawler-men. Opening with archive footage of men working the boats before big international changes altered the landscape, we then meet Curly Dean (James Burrows) a seadog seemingly from birth who breaks the fourth wall to introduce us to himself and the other central players in the film in true Guy Ritchie style.
As Curly makes land, he becomes the titular three day millionaire – a term used to describe fishermen who make land and must spend all they have before heading out again. Yet in the name of progress, Curly and his fellow trawlermen might not get that opportunity – in the name of progress they are facing redundancy as big boss Mr Barr (Colm Meaney – excellent as ever) looks to sell up for ‘vegan food and artisan coffee’ in a fairly broad demonstration of the working class being screwed over by fatcats and politicians. As a result, Mr Graham (Jonas Armstrong) suggests Curly, loose canon Codge (Michael Kinsey) and nice but dim Budgie (Sam Glen) rob the company safe to re-invest and stop the local trade from dying completely.
The central idea may not be entirely original (and neither are the twists when it unfolds) but with some good humour and likeable characters that is no problem – if anything there are too many subplots for each of the central characters in a noble attempt to give the narrative arc meaning to each and every motivation.
Where the film falls down is in its constant switching of tone – from social-realist drama to crime caper and back again, it feels like two separate films at times. As it bats between the two, you’re never too sure of what one it truly wants to be, and neither is the film itself.