For those of you living in London, we feel your pain! Going to an affordable restaurant is almost impossible, a Friday night out costs more than you want and the rent for a house or workplace is huge. So if you want something of your own, you must break the bank or pull off a heist like the one Jennifer attempts in “The Pay Day”. This debut feature of director Sam Bradford is a British and more independent take on the typical heist films. While the film certainly has its shortcomings, it’s still a very sexy, suave and entertaining movie.
IT technician Jennifer (Kyla Frye) was recently fired. After worrying about the current economic climate and the increasing rent, she has yet to decide what to do next. That is until Jennifer gets a mysterious phone call from a man claiming he can help her get back on track. The only thing she needs to do is to take the most significant risk of her life.
Jennifer has nothing to lose and everything to gain, so she meets Mr Gates (Simon Callow). She hesitantly decides to take the job when she finds out she could make five million just by infiltrating an office block and stealing critical and expensive data. Dressed to impress and with a (temporary) license to kill, she steps into the office.
Still, instead of finding a company with over demanding bosses, burn-out employees and meeting room after meeting room, she meets George (Sam Benjamin), the company’s CEO. At least, that’s who he says he’s. While Jennifer hasn’t been part of the criminal industry for long, she knows how to spot a liar. So who’s this George anyway? A friend, enemy, something in between or both? Watch “The Pay Day”, and you will find out for yourself.
When watching “The Pay Day”, you can tell that Bradford and writers and co-stars Frye (“The Naked Poet”) and Benjamin took a lot of inspiration from the classic heist movies. However, instead of focusing on tons of action and too many players in the heist game, they kept the film simple with just two astonishing leads, snappy moments and entertaining scenes.
The heart of this film is, without a doubt, the stunning performances from Frye and Benjamin. During their interview, they mentioned that they wrote the parts with them in mind, and that certainly paid off. They had already made three short films together, and the established, strong and fun relationship was already there, resulting in tons of chemistry and charismatic performances.
While Frye kicks ass as the powerful, clever, daredevil-ish Jennifer, Benjamin shines in his first lead role as the charming, witty, and deceiving George. Without their amusing banter, witty dialogue and sexual tension, this movie probably wouldn’t have worked. We also, of course, have to celebrate the devilish, mysterious and fun performance by Callow. Yes, the cast’s most prominent name might have been overused a bit, but his performance is again a pleasure to watch.
When watching “The Pay Day”, you notice that the movie doesn’t only get its personality from the lead roles but also the many filmic aspects. The jazzy and upbeat score by Daisy Coole (“Clay’s Redemption”, “Ask for Jane”) and Tom Nettleship (“The Cloaking”, “Clay’s Redemption”), the fast-paced editing from Michael Lesley and Phil Thomas’ (“A-Symmetry”, Still Waters Run Deep”) extremely polished and stylish cinematography, they all turn “The Pay Day” into a delightful heist rollercoaster.
Sadly, “The Pay Day” falls short when it comes to being gripping all the time. A heist thriller should grip you from the beginning and never let you go. Unfortunately, that’s not 100% achieved in this film. While there are moments you might zone out a bit, the movie never becomes dull.
Ok, “The Pay Day” certainly doesn’t invent a new way of filmmaking or doesn’t lift the heist genre to a whole new level. Unfortunately, the budget might have been a bit too small for that. However, thanks to the delightful performances from Frye and Benjamin and the chic overall look, this movie still turns out to be a lovely, light-hearted and funny heist film.
“The Pay Day” is now available via digital download.
5th December 2022
THE QUICK SELL
A broke and frustrated IT technician decides to embark on a one woman heist to steal valuable data worth millions on the black market.