BEEBA BOYS [London Film Festival 2015]

PrintE-mail Written by Peter Turner

Based on true events, Beeba Boys is the Thrill Gala film at the 2015 London Film Festival. Let's hope this isn't the best they have in store for the Thrill category this year.

Set in Vancouver amidst warring Sikh gangsters, Jeet is the leader of his crew of Beeba Boys and is intent on cutting in on the action of rival gangster Grewal's turf. Dealing drugs and guns, while trying to maintain a normal family life in a suburban home with his mother, father and young son Peter, Jeet struggles to balance the two sides of his life, but is insistent on antagonising his enemy nonetheless.

Meanwhile, young wannabe gangster Nep has infiltrated Jeet's gang in order to help Grewal bring him down, and Jeet further complicates his life by falling for a white woman who he must keep away from his traditional Punjabi family.

Desperate to be a hip take on Indo-gangsters in Canada, Beeba Boys tries too hard to be funny and fails at almost every turn. Critically for a thriller, it never gets any momentum going in order to actually do any thrilling. It wants to have the blasé attitude to casual violence of a Tarantino film, but then expects its audience to care about the characters in melodramatic household scenes between Jeet and his son, or Jeet and his Polish girlfriend.

It doesn't help that Randeep Hooda as Jeet is a charisma vacuum and the script is full of tired clichés and increasingly ludicrous plot points as it attempts to crawl to a climax. Writer and director Deepa Mehta tries to liven things up with crunching guitars and Asian flavoured hip hop, not to mention so much dashing camera movement that it becomes tedious, but with a highly flawed script full of completely unlikeable characters, Beeba Boys just repeatedly misses the mark.

Every time it looks like there might be a fun action scene full of flying bullets, there is a tension-sapping scene of lifeless domestic drama. Every time Manny, the joker of Jeet's group tries to inject some humour, the joke falls flat. The acting largely goes completely over the top and fails to bring the laughable (in all the wrong ways) script to life. It could have been an interesting look at a community underrepresented in film, but instead uses ridiculous gangster clichés to create a fairly loathsome depiction of Vancouver's Sikh gangsters. Scorsese this isn’t, though Mehta tries her best with the kinetic camera.

Beeba Boys aims high with its influences worn proudly on its multi-coloured sleeves. It’s directed with some flair, looking and sounding like it should be a lot more fun than it is. The tone swings wildly from comic violence to stern titles that remind us that this is all based on true events, but with so much overacting and lifeless drama, it’s impossible to get behind these boys. If Beeba means ‘decent’ or ‘good’, they definitely chose the wrong title.

BEEBA BOYS / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: DEEPA MEHTA / RANDEEP HOODA, ALI MOMEN, SARAH ALLEN, WARIS AHLUWALIA / RELEASE DATE: TBC

Expected Rating:
6 out of 10

Actual Rating:


 


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