Cinema dictates that drug dealing can make for great entertainment. As far as jobs go, it’s unpredictable. The journey might well involve outwitting mobsters, escaping to far flung climes and enjoying the company of suspiciously otherwise unattainable women. But – as everything from Scarface to Midnight Express testifies – the cost is often unspeakably awful.
All of which puts Lee Sales’ Turnout at an immediate disadvantage. For George (George Russo) has two weeks to flog his small consignment of cocaine. Why the deadline, you may ask? Has he got two weeks to flee the country before the feds bust his chops? Will some local gangsters use his balls for dogmeat? Erm, no. He has to pay for a holiday with his city-working, sharp-accented girlfriend Sophie (Ophelia Lovibond).
While low-level dealers are often played for laughs (Jay and Silent Bob, Withnail and I’s Danny), George is more the type that is laughed at. He doesn’t have any problem off-loading his gear, but getting his Hackney pals to pay for any of it is another matter. And so begins a procession of scenes which mostly see George bashing on various people’s doors while hollering “Open the door! I want my farking money you [insert expletive of choice here]!”
Turnout plays out at a decent pace and features some mildy amusing moments of geezers-at-play banter, but that’s the epitome of faint praise. Hamstrung by its uninspired conceit, barely any element of the film rises above average leaving a movie that passes by pleasantly without really inspiring much in the way of talking points. Even an appearance by Plan B (aka Ben Drew) is so fleeting that the use of his name on the poster feels cynical.
Despite its gritty theme, the most intriguing strand of the narrative is the decline of the relationship between mismatched cheeky chappie George and middle-class glamour puss Sophie. The drugs, it seems, don’t work.