Film review: Convenience
In a nutshell, Convenience is a brilliant movie. The easy bit is telling you why. The difficult part is getting the chance to watch the film on the big screen. Convenience isn’t just a low-budget indie Brit Flick, it’s a micro budget movie made on a baby booty’s shoestring of £80k. (Low budget for an average British movie is around the £5m mark, so do the maths.)
An original concept, Convenience ticks all the boxes when it comes to entertaining. We’ve all witnessed the ‘shop genre’ before, but not like this; there’s no closure of a much-loved community shop (Be Kind Rewind) or allure of a designer shopping mall (Clueless), but there is plenty of chocolate, (in the snack bar sense, not an artisan ‘Chocolat’ chocolatier), and that’s where the likeability starts. If you’ve worked in a shop (and I’ve done my time in eight), you’ll appreciate the mundane nature of trying to look busy shelf stacking when the stock is already out, and the irritating nature of store supervisors, or, if you’ve never had the pleasure, you’ll get an insight into the traumas and fun times retail workers go through on a typical shift.
The acting is on point, (Adeel Akhtar who starred in Four Lions) is the centre of the comedic moments, Vicky McClure (from the This Is England trilogy), who plays Levi, is likeable from the moment the camera pans on her fed-up face sat at the till, dying of boredom, while Ray Panthaki (who plays Ajay and has produced the movie) continues to impress, with his ability to make Londoncentric films that capture moments in time with intelligence and accuracy; and then there’s the unpredictable cameos from familiar actors, (Anthony Head and Verne Troyer), that reminds the audience that we’re watching something truly special.
Convenience is an example of creative thinking and good old-fashioned storytelling. In the first few scenes, which lead to our two protagonists Shaan and Ajay running a petrol station shop for the night, it feels as though you’re watching a play. 98% of the movie is filmed entirely in one location but that doesn’t stop you from get engrossed in the shenanigans of the character’s 12-hour shift. The comic set up of a mundane all-night garage becomes a fascinating space in which the unlikeliest of characters connect. Laugh out loud moments are aplenty. The film is well-structured, smoothly paced and reassuringly, the lose ends are all tied up. The film looks great too; the ‘low budget’ nature is irrelevant and it never detracts from its purpose and strength, which is being a great film - Director Keri Collins' ability to achieve this is worthy of praise, no wonder he’s already received a BAFTA for it.
If Convenience doesn’t become a cult classic it will be a crime against filmmaking. A refreshingly original production, Convenience showcases the creativity that exists in British indie cinema. As cheap and cheerful as a heist movie (and a heist for that matter) can get, I’m sure I won’t be the only person wanting some fan fiction about what happened next…
Convenience is on limited release in UK cinemas from October 2nd - if you miss it, put it to the top of your DVD viewing list. Available on-demand from 5th October.