Sunday, 2 August 2015
Freight is a 2010 British film concerning human trafficking. A foreign gang with no respect for the laws of England, traffic Eastern Europeans in containers then enslave them; the women to the sex trade, the men to illegal cage fighting. Thieving from local businessman Gabe Taylor (Billy Murray) means that a war quickly escalates, but when his daughter (Laura Aikman) is taken by them to be sold into the sex trade, Gabe - with the help of right hand man Jed (Craig Fairbrass) fights back.
It takes a brave man to commence a film with the theft of two portaloos, for fear of never shaking off the notion of effluence in the viewer's mind, but writer/director Stuart St Paul is that man. And more fool him. Bizarrely, it's the opening sequence involving the Romanian (or is it Russian? St Paul's script seems incredibly contradictory on this fact) criminals nicking the loos that I found the most coherent and enjoyable as after that the script resorts to scenes that simply serve to tick boxes; illegal immigrant labour, cage fighting, lap dancing, bloody vendettas. St Paul quickly floods the screen with a quick succession of barely introduced characters that you couldn't give a toss about (largely portrayed by his own family; children Laura and Luke Aikman both appear as Billy Murray's children) and ensures the action becomes more and more ludicrous across its 85 minute running time.
By the time wheelchair basketball player and former BBC ident star Ade Adepitan popped up and had his own fight scene I'd lost the plot, but the film had totally lost it long before that.
This clearly wants to be the UK's low budget answer to Taken but although the stars Billy Murray and Craig Fairbrass hold your attention the script most certainly does not, tackling as it does the sensitive political issues of immigration and human trafficking with all the depth and insight of a cartoon strip in a newspaper - and no prizes for guessing that that paper is the oh so compassionate and switched on Daily Fail. Equally unsurprising given the tone is the fact that the Romanian/Russian heavies are not played by foreign actors and are instead played by the perpetually greasy, sleazy looking Danny Midwinter (an actor whose most ongoing role seems to be having his photo taken in Stringfellows) and the normally respectable and reliable Andrew Tiernan who I imagine was either doing someone a favour (possible given the number of relatives and firm friends appearing in the production) or had a pressing tax bill to pay.
In Freight's defence it carries off its low budget largely with some aplomb; there's some good stunt work and there's an easy chemistry between some of the cast most notably Fairbrass and Murray, but this is typical straight-to-video fare with the most ridiculous ending which saw me snort back a laugh and shout 'oh fuck off' as the credits - with its grave 'serious face now' home office statistics - began to roll.