"Robbing the Rich to Give to Yourself"
What You Need To Know:
Compared to PULP FICTION and other crime stories, SHOOTING FISH is very tame. It doesn't contain many obscenities and profanities, nor sex, drug use or brutal violence. It does have smooth talking operators who think that just because they were orphans that somehow the rich owe them a decent home. In the end, the story tries to justify the behavior of the criminals when they help Georgie keep an orphanage for Down's Syndrome children. With a British rock soundtrack, color photography and ingenuity, this movie may be popular with the same crowd that enjoyed TRAINSPOTTING.
(Pa, LL, V, S, A, D, MMM) Pagan worldview of criminals who justify their own behavior; 8 obscenities & 10 profanities; very mild violence including a punching scene & image of corpse; image of sex toy; smoking; drinking; and, miscellaneous immorality including stealing, lying, cheating, breaking & entering, extortion, & unrepentant attitudes.
In the past several years, a new sort of genre has emerged perhaps as a result of PULP FICTION: the low-budget crime comedy. Recent examples are BOTTLE ROCKET and PALOOKAVILLE. Containing quirky writing, bumbling crooks, wry humor, and a no-star cast, these movies are usually the result of an upstart filmmaker looking to be noticed. Fox Searchlight now releases an English production, the strangely titled SHOOTING FISH which exemplifies the genre. Light, breezy and attractive to teenagers, it glorifies crime with young, fresh-faced actors.
American twenty-something Dylan (Dan Futterman) has been living in England for five years. He meets fellow orphan Jez (Stuart Townsend), and they discover a similar passion in fleecing others of their own money. They pledge to raise enough money to buy a stately home through their scams. Just a few pounds shy of reaching their dream, they hire a secretary to help them in their plot to sell non-existent talking computers. By night, Georgie (Kate Beckinsale) takes classes at a medical school. By day, she helps the criminals in their nefarious plans which becomes increasingly more difficult and more risky.
Jez and Dylan keep house in the base of an old gas refinery and store their loot in 50 pound notes in sealed briefcases under the floor. When a scam to sell attic insulation goes awry, the fellows are arrested and put in jail for three months. All the while, Georgie believes that they money is going to poor orphans.
Georgie is experiencing difficulties of her own. Her own stately home, which has been converted to an orphanage for children with Down’s Syndrome, is being foreclosed by none other than her own fiancée. Georgie walks out on the marriage, pledges to help Jez and Dylan and undertakes a complicated plan involving keys, transferring money and fixing horse races to produce a favorable outcome for her employers.
Compared to PULP FICTION and other crime stories, SHOOTING FISH is very tame. It doesn’t contain many obscenities and profanities, nor any sex, drug use or brutal violence. It does have smooth talking operators who think that just because they were orphans and didn’t have a family that somehow the rich owe them a decent home. When Dylan asks Georgie for a kiss too soon, she refuses. She also walks away from a dishonest marriage, but instead, she falls for Jez, a criminal. In the end, the story tries to justify the behavior of the criminals when they help Georgie keep the orphanage for Down’s Syndrome children, but this just seems to indicate that crime is OK if the end justifies the means.
Other filmmakers may be attracted to the wise-cracking, quick-thinking newcomer Dan Futterman, while Kate Beckinsale demonstrates that she can handle a contemporary character after turns in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING and COLD COMFORT FARM. With a British rock soundtrack, color photography and ingenuity, this movie may be popular with the same crowd that enjoyed TRAINSPOTTING, but its crossover appeal to American youth at large seems limited.