But it was lies. All lies. Bullet Tooth Tony is a very minor character. Byrne has a thirty second bit part. And Val Kilmer is barely in the movie for three minutes. (It’s a great tres minutos though.) The main star of PLAYED is actually some newcomer named Mick Rossi, who co-wrote the movie and isn’t exactly the most charismatic actor. I haven’t been this disappointed or misled since my last date.
Maybe if the movie was any good I could get over such outright trickery. I can understand if some guy wants to play up the more famous actors who supported him in an effort to get a genuinely worthy flick seen by the masses. Unfortunately, PLAYED is not worthy of such treatment. It’s merely a rehash of every recent British crime movie, complete with supposedly cool characters and catchy nicknames, filthy dialogue and the requisite twists and double crosses. Think a more boring and less stylized version of SNATCH, or an obtuse and unpolished LAYER CAKE wannabe.
Granted, the film was obviously made on a very, very low budget, but that should be an opportunity to let the filmmakers’ creativity and ingenuity shine. Instead, we get a feature length mess that smacks of being made up as it goes along, not to mention a story that takes massive detours. When Ray gets out of jail it sets things up fairly well; he needs to get himself resituated, get his girl back and confront the bastards who set him up. So naturally he leaves England and goes to the United States to do an odd job that takes up three quarters of the movie’s running time, before returning to London at the very end to tie up the plot. If you want to try and improvise a script (which is apparently what they did), at least come up with an outline first.
Behind the Scenes (14:04): Gabriel Byrne: “I said, ‘What’s the script?’ And he said, ‘We don’t have one yet.’” That’s probably the most useful bit of information I got out of this set of interviews, as it confirms my original theory.
Extra Tidbit: This is Bruno Kirby’s last movie. I’ll prefer to remember him in stuff like WHEN HARRY MET SALLY and not PLAYED.