Inside Men

Inside Men review BBC1| Let’s rob this lousy joint

Published by jamdog on 1st February, 2012.

Inside Men review

BBC1

 

The last time I saw Steven Mackintosh he was getting shot through the giblets by Mad “I’m crazy!” Alice on Luther and the last time I cared about him was when he played Nigel in Adrian Mole. He’s one of those people who just seems to appear in a lot of shite (hello Camelot!) and rarely rises above his surroundings. Inside Men changes all that as not only is this a really good drama, he’s really good in it. He plays John, a manager in a cash counting house. John, if I may borrow the vernacular of Joe Pesci in Goodfellas, is a stuttering prick – good at his job, conscientious to a fault and so, so eager to please it’s sickening. He’s in his 40s and just about to adopt a kid with wife Kirsty (Nicola Walker) so maybe it’s time for him to man up, take that promotion he’s been offered, up sticks and move to the north-west for added responsibility and an extra £300 a year? Or, you know, mastermind a £170 million heist from his own workplace.

 

“He’s in his 40s and just about to adopt a kid so maybe it’s time for him to man up, take that promotion, up sticks and move to the north-west for added responsibility and an extra £300 a year? Or, you know, mastermind a £170 million heist from his own workplace?”

“Don’t speak unless spoken to. Be compliant and live to see another day” That’s the advice they give to all counting house managers on armed robbery scenarios. But it’s also how John has been living his whole life. Never answering back, never making a fuss, always scared. But that all changes one day in January when John rumbles worker drone Marcus (Warren Brown) and security tard Chris (Ashley Walters) in a scam that got £50,000 out of the facility a couple of grand at a time.

John’s not angry, he’s not even disappointed – he just wants to know how they did it. It’s silly really, he tells them, taking all that risk for just a few grand. If you’re going to do it, he reasons, take them for everything they’ve got. He’s not fucking about either. Marcus and Chris are taken aback. They came into John’s office small-scale embezzlers and they exit it plotters in the biggest cast heist in British history. How was work today, darling? Oh, you know…

“As Chris bleeds out, John picks up a gun and points it at him like he’s fixing to finish off what the kneecapper started. Whatever is going on here, this wasn’t the plan.”Fast forward to September and the robbery. John is being “kidnapped” by some masked goons. At his home, a button man sticks a gun in his wife’s tits. Counting house workers are forced to load crates full of cash into lorries. It all goes like a dream, unless you’re Chris who gets kneecapped by one of the goons. As Chris bleeds out, John picks up a gun and points it at him like he’s fixing to finish off what the kneecapper started. Whatever is going on here, this wasn’t the plan. What’s it all about?

Inside Men, it turns out, is about what is inside men. It’s about the hierarchies groups of men instinctively form – who takes the lead, who blinks first. John’s masterplan unleashes a beast within – an assertive, dynamic, long dormant primal force. He becomes a leader of men. He was the boss at work but he was never The Boss. His day has come. His smarts and diligence are now weapons and men fall in line behind him. It’s armed robbery as personal development.

“Inside Men, it turns out, is about what is inside men. It’s about the hierarchies groups of men instinctively form – who takes the lead, who blinks first. John’s masterplan unleashes a beast within – an assertive, dynamic, long dormant primal force.”

It works terrifically well. Mackintosh couldn’t be better either as the submissive clock puncher of January or the steely crime boss of September. As the three co-conspirators justify their actions to their partners and to themselves they are pulled down a road you feel can only end badly but John feels in control for the very first time. Tony Basgallop (Worried about the Boy) writes a slick powerful take on the heist genre and both Barren Blown and Gashley Walturds put in good shifts as the two grunts. This will be on my best shows of 2012 list or my name’s not Aerial “suck a dick a day, son” Telly.

The verdict on Inside Men: “My daddy was a bank robber but he never hurt nobody. He just struck out in Luther and Camelot was bummy.”

Marks out of 10: 8

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