"Fakers" clearly aims to be a smart mainstream product outside the normal run of privately financed Brit indies. But despite engaging performances, yarn about art grifters lacks real snap, which ultimately stems from the so-so script and lack of real coin. Pleasant pic looks to grab only small-scale cash on U.K. release Nov. 5.

From its Saul Bass-like ’60s main title to its widescreen lensing and caper script, “Fakers” clearly aims to be a smart mainstream product outside the normal run of privately financed Brit indies. But despite engaging performances from a cast led by Matthew Rhys and Kate Ashfield and pro direction by first-timer Richard Janes, yarn about art grifters lacks real snap, which ultimately stems from the so-so script and lack of real coin. On the shelf for more than a year, pleasant pic looks to grab only small-scale cash on U.K. release Nov. 5.

Rhys plays chancer Nick Edwards, who has four days to find £50,000 ($80,000) he owes unctuous gangster Foster Wright (Art Malik). Stumbling across a 1911 sketch by a Sicilian artist hidden in an antique painter’s box, Nick teams with cynical friend Eve (Ashfield) and her artist brother, Tony (Tom Chambers), in a quick scam to sell multiple copies of the artwork to various London galleries within the space of an hour. Chemistry between the leads is fine, but dialogue and pacing aren’t sharp enough by half.

Fakers

U.K.

Production

A Guerilla Films release of a Kleparski & Bee Prods. production, in association with Callidus. (International sales: Content Intl., London.) Produced by Claire Bee, Todd Kleparski, Richard Janes. Executive producers, Rosie Chambers, Robert Kirkland, Christopher Shepley, Fleur Hetherington, Luke G. Jones. Directed by Richard Janes. Screenplay, Paul Gerstenberger.

Crew

Camera (color, Technovision widescreen, DV-to-35mm), Balazs Bolygo; editor, Adam Green; music, Kevin Sargent; production designer, Jason Harris; art director, Sam Clark-Hall; costume designer, Katie Waite. Reviewed at Mr. Young's preview theater, London, July 28, 2004. Running time: 84 MIN.

With

Matthew Rhys, Kate Ashfield, Tom Chambers, Tony Haygarth, Art Malik, Edward Hibbert, Paul Clayton, Larry Lamb, Rula Lenska, Stephen Greif.
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