Film review

Payback Season

March 13, 2012
By Dominic Antill

Rating:

Payback Season takes you on a thrilling (ish) ride through the life of football's next big thing, as his council estate past catches up with him. While glimpsing into the lives of our high flying-football superstars is interesting enough, the film also tries to examine the difficulties that come with such fame.

Payback Season
OtherBrit flick Payback Season is the latest football film to try to break the mould of what is an oft-maligned genre

BAFTA-Orange Rising Star nominee Adam Deacon (Jerome Davis) is living the dream, introduced driving a soft-top Ferrari, and things really couldn't get any better. But a trip back to his old home, where his mother and brother still live, forces a chance encounter with his old crew.

'Baron' (David Ajala), the gang leader, drags him back into a lifestyle that he had to escape before becoming a footballer and, bitter that he never made it as a professional himself, Baron blackmails the foolhardy Jerome into giving cash loans that spiral out of control.

Because: "When the payment stops, the football stops..."

All of these shady dealings are going on as Jerome tries to entice journalist Lisa (Nichola Burley), ironically as she interviews him about his lifestyle and how he has escaped his past. Lisa is seriously hot stuff and does her best to resist Jerome's bad boy, street charm, but inevitably he seals the deal by making her an omelette - which works for some, apparently.

A brief cameo from Sir Geoff Hurst (playing Andy) - because this is a football film of course - as Jerome's agent is a welcome sight and he is almost as natural on camera as he was in front of goal. Jerome doesn't exactly deal with blackmail particularly well and you do wish Sir Geoff would intervene a little more to set the lad straight, but he has to do this alone.

The climax sees Jerome confront Baron back at his patch and is resolved by the most unlikely of characters, while Jerome's interview about leaving the hood behind is playing in the background. Deacon tries to hold his own but the surprisingly menacing Ajala is the real watch.

Payback Season is Danny Donnelly's directorial debut and he really throws his dubstep roots at the film, pushing the urban, street feel. The music is hard-hitting and loud, providing some significant impact, though it does make it feel like a prolonged music video at times, with an alarming amount of product placement.

The attempts to teach some moral lessons are a little lost here - if you're an aspiring footballer don't watch this, there isn't a curfew in sight - and someone needs to advise the script writers that the use of the words 'bruv' and 'fam' is not the only way to establish a film's authentic London tone.

A cliché at best, unintentionally amusing at worst - this doesn't really deliver where it promises, but with guns, girls, cars and booze, in no particular order, it has enough to be watchable.