Another week, another moody indie flick in which a tough-but-taciturn hero returns to his run-down home town to rescue a hapless young woman from an unsavoury element. This time it’s the turn of Dean (Ian Sharp), an ex-British Army sharpshooter who heads back to the east coast sinkhole of Grimsby looking to reunite with Jess (Gina Bramhill), the mother of his dead best mate’s child.
This tiresome, vaguely insulting boy-saves-girl plotline would be bad enough on its own, but ‘Pleasure Island’ compounds the misery by chucking in sweary gangsters (Rick Warden and Michael J Jackson), unconvincing punch-ups and idiotic plot twists, including a scheme to smuggle heroin across the North Sea inside homing pigeons (apparently this has actually been tried in South America, but it’s still ridiculous). As the hero, Sharp is a charisma black hole: aiming for strong-but-silent, he only gets as far as waiting-for-a-bus.
But this microbudget thriller has two strengths: the stark seafront desolation of Grimsby adds a hint of dramatic weight; while the punchy double act of Samuel Anderson as a fast-talking arcade owner and ‘The Selfish Giant’ star Conner Chapman as his youngest, scruffiest customer lend unexpected interest. Effortlessly acting everyone else off the screen, these two seem like they’ve wandered in from a totally different movie – one we might have enjoyed watching.