From the start The Smoke feels a bit different from your usual gangster carnage flick from the Tanters and the Sothcotts of this world - which might be why those fooled by the mis-marketing of this romantic crime thriller as a "proper lads' film" might feel a little misled.
The producers seem to have tried to up the ante with chases through underground train stations, exploding cars and a Paris-set finale with a reformed hooker given a second chance in life (and a dalmatian!) at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Not your average gangster move.
And while they don't fully succeed in delivering the next Layer Cake or Lock Stock, at worst it feels like a noble failure.
Matt di'Angelo's turn as Brad, the lawyer having the baddest of bad days, deserves praise and plaudits - he's more than your average soap star and it shows. His co-star Lili Bordan oozes sex and vulnerability in equal measure with her damaged call girl Jodie. Without their performances, the film would possibly struggle to anchor but they act as a gel to the rest of the narrative. As good leads should!
You get the feeling that much of the film is on a cutting room floor somewhere though and that something bolder was on the cards. Jeff Leach, who plays Brad's best mate Dean, spoke about many of his best scenes not making the final cut for some reason, and Wikipedia refer to this 89 minute release as the "studio cut". So maybe a Director's Cut is bobbing around out there for people to really judge one day...
City lawyer Brad Walker (Matt di'Angelo) is having the worst day of his life. His high-maintenance girlfriend Sasha (Anna Passey) has left him for his so-called friend Tom (Christian Brassington) and to add insult to injury, he's been fired too. On a night out drowning his sorrows with old friend Dean (Jeff Leach), he overhears a conversation between Phil (Darren Ripley) and Ben (Stephen Marcus) - two drug dealers working for small-time gangster Jack (Alan Ford) - that will change his life forever...
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