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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring: Billy Murray, Craig Fairbrass, Danny Midwinter and Laura Aikman
Icon Home Entertainment
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 18
Available 18 April 2011

When a Romanian human trafficker gang steals one of Gabe Taylor’s porta-loos, they have no idea who they have crossed. Having survived London gangland Gabe is not the sort of person to take the theft lightly. When he confronts the gang he sets off a string of events which will see his whole family in peril...

Freight (2010 - 1 hr, 26 min, 45 sec) is a gangster thriller written and directed by Stuart St. Paul. St. Paul is honest in the commentary when he says that, whilst there are a number of gang related films made in Britain, less than a handful have had any success outside of these shores. I’m afraid that this fate is likely to befall Freight.

The story opens with the preparations for Gabe’s daughter’s marriage. All looks normal, even if Gabe does seem to hang about with an inordinate number of large muscular men. A human trafficking gang, headed by Cristi (Danny Midwinter) makes the mistake of stealing Gabe’s property. Not one to take this lightly Gabe and his gang go and tackle the Romanians.

What looks like an average British gangster hard man getting his own way quickly starts to unravel, as Gabe (Billy Murray) has no real idea just how violent the Romanians and Christi can be. Having crossed his path Christi goes out of his way to destroy Gabe, through his family. What follows is a desperate hunt, across the north of England, as Gabe tries to get his daughter back alive and avenge the death of his son.

Apparently the film started as a work which attempted to expose the trafficking of humans for the British sex trade, a laudable idea, even if its focus was less on this than it was on Gabe and his gang rushing around the north of England. It not helped by the attitude that the film appears to take towards foreigners in general.

It’s a competent thriller which only stumbles in a few occasional places; the real find of the film is Danny Midwinter who revels in his role as the ultra-violent and very threatening Christi. His conviction in the role make you believe that this man really would have no qualms about killing you and all your family.

Murray and the British contingent play their parts well, but then they have played similar roles often, still, they counterbalance the Romanians well.

The disc comes with a full length commentary with St. Paul, composer Mark Blackledge and Bill Murray. Its slow to get started but eventually tells you about the film, even if a few of the comments were a little coy, probably for legal reasons.

The film is presented with a 16.9 aspect ratio, the picture is good, made better with the excellent cinematography, and the north never looked so good. The extras consist of seven short cast interviews and 10 short features which look at various aspect of the film.

Freight was never going to be a great film, it lacks a central character to rival Michael Caine in Get Carter nor is it stylish enough to challenge Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. It even waters down its central political message to the point where it is just another plot device. That said, it has its moments and is generally a competently made thriller.


Charles Packer

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