After the recent Three Day Millionaire & The Last Heist the latest in a recent in a run of low budget British crime films centres on a heist is The Pay Day. Jennifer (Kyla Frye) is a penniless IT technician, something of a rarity in our experience when every time our office tech breaks down our 18 year old IT support officer rocks up to the office in yet another Porsche 911. But Jennifer’s situation gets worse when she is ‘let go’ by her truly ghastly boss Ms Boomer who takes a perverse delight in upsetting her staff. Unemployed and with debt mounting up Jennifer gets a phone call out of the blue with an offer that will end her financial woes forever. Our Editor too has had a similar call when he was personally contacted by a Nigerian prince in exile with a promise of unlimited riches that have yet to arrive much like our invoices to the Editor which he insists he’s not received yet.
With work offers thin to non-existent she goes along to meet the man on the phone, a Mr Gates (Simon Callow) who wants to utilize her IT skills by getting her to infiltrate an office and downloading data worth £500m of which she will get 1%. It all seems straight forward enough and having got past the supercilious receptionist, whose demeanour suggests her last job was in a Doctors surgery, Jennifer gets into the offices and sets about her mission only to encounter George (Sam Benjamin) the apparent CEO of the company who rumbles her and yet all is not quite as it seems and what follows is a series of twists and unexpected turns and when a firearm enters the mix it soon becomes clear that this could all come to a tragic end.
Co-written by Frye & Benjamin this is very much one of those projects where the talent can showcase their range and The Pay day is part light comedy set against that of the heist. It’s a genre that is notoriously awkward to pull off and the likes of films such as Oceans 11, Jackie Brown and Kubrick’s masterful, ‘The Killing’ are the very best that are done so well as to make script structure look easy. The Pay Day is not as labyrinthine as those films and the thrill of Jennifer and George being rumbled at any point is not quite as suspenseful as might be hoped and the soft jazz score that tinkles away throughout dissipates rather than adds to the moments where it all looks like the heist might go awry.
Frye and Benjamin make a likeable and engaging screen couple and Ellen Thomas as Jennifer’s awful manager and Farrel Hegarty as the snooty receptionist deserve a special mention clearly relishing their roles and Simon callow is as great as ever. So whilst The Pay Day lacks any real tension it is a good calling card for a talented cast who will undoubtedly deserve to go on to bigger projects.
We spoke to Kyla Frye & Sam Benjamin about the making of the film….
Here’s the Pay Day trailer……