A gentle giant with learning difficulties and his exploitative best friend negotiate challenges in “Best Laid Plans,” a contempo, low-budget Britpic that pays an acknowledged debt to “Of Mice and Men.” This uneasy mix of romance, buddy movie, gangster thriller and cage-fighting drama will likely prove a tough sell to auds, although the violent elements should help land a soft punch in ancillary.
Minor con Danny (Stephen Graham), who’s deep in debt to kingpin Curtis (David O’Hara), is about to have his cheek slashed as punishment when bear-like Joseph (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) lumbers to his rescue. Soon the genial, childlike savior is bullied into a grisly payment plan, participating in underground bare-knuckle bouts run by Curtis. The pair’s bond comes under threat when Joseph falls for Isabel (Maxine Peake), who’s also mentally challenged. Meanwhile, hard-drinking, cocaine-snorting Danny, whose moral turpitude extends to smoking indoors, pursues romance with kind-hearted hooker/artist Lisa (Emma Stansfield). Despite solid perfs, pic is unlikely to enhance the rep of TV helmer Blair in his third outing as feature director, following the little-seen “Mystics” and “Tabloid.” Stylish exterior lensing offers welcome flashes of relief from flat interiors.