Life as a first-time director isn’t easy at all. You want to attract big names to make sure you can finance the movie, but you don’t have much money to pay them. So when making his directional debut, “Destination: Dewsbury”, director Jack Spring found a smart way of financing his film, selling hot tubs.
While it might seem a bit of a weird choice, it was worth it as he was the youngest feature film director and also got a BAFTA ‘Breakthrough Brit’ nomination. Now he’s taking it to a new level in “Three Day Millionaire”. With a bunch of national and international actors, a heist script under the arm and a perfect sense of humour, he decides to honour the ex-industrial city of Grimsby and his love for heist movies in a very funny, extraordinarily British and feel-good film.
“Three Day Millionaire” isn’t only the name of Spring’s movie, but it’s also the phrase fisherman of Grimsby use after returning home with their catch and splashing out their well-earned cash three days before heading back to the sea. In this film, we follow Curly (James Burrows), co-worker Budgie (Sam Glen) and friend Codge (Michael Kinsey).
Sadly, their lives as fishermen end abruptly when their company owner, Mr Barr (Colm Meaney), sells the site to developers who will turn it into one of those generation Z coffeeshops. Because their jobs are on the line and to get revenge, the friends decide to rob Mr Barr and set them up for a millionaire-type life (or at least a better life than the one waiting for them). But just as in any heist movie, their plan is pierced with many problems, troublesome moments and despair. Will the friends be able to pull off their big-time robbery?
When thinking about heist movies, films such as “Baby Driver”, “Heat”, and “Ocean’s Eleven” come to mind, and while “Three Day Millionaire” certainly doesn’t reach that same level, it’s still an excellent genre movie, mainly because of the stunning cast.
Burrows (“Fighting with My Family”, “U Want Me 2 Kill Him?”) adds bags of charisma to this movie, and it feels like he’s guiding us through his local town, his life that’s on the brink of collapsing and his heist plans. Meaney (“The Banker”, “Save The Cinema”), one of the most famous stars in this movie, certainly gets the funniest and biggest scenes, and he brilliantly portrays the entrepreneur whose life revolves around glory, womanising and getting as much money as possible. The rest of the cast work exceptionally well and put on some strong performances, resulting in strong on-screen camaraderie, funny moments and genuine heart-warming feelings.
We also have to praise the camera team of this movie. Whether it’s showing us the beautiful night skyline or the fast-paced action scenes during the day, the drone scenes are each stunningly created. If you add quirky voice-overs, the breaking of the fourth wall (congrats to Burrows for bringing this in a highly effective way), pop art and the freeze frames to it, then you know you get a typical British heist movie. You also get an excellent glimpse into Grimsby’s streets, bars and local areas, so next time you visit the town, you might spot a famous site or two.
Sadly, “Three Day Millionaire” doesn’t come without its flaws. The biggest might be the overfull script. Paul Stephenson doesn’t only want to bring every aspect of Grimsby to the screen but also too many topics. You have one big heist, multiple romantic subplots and many socio-economic issues (class divisions, preserving tradition, sense of community).
The movie has a runtime of only 92 minutes, and the team wants to put as much as possible into it. A bit more focus on the heist and the important topics and less on the side notes would turn “Three Day Millionaire” into a much better film. We would have also liked to see at least one or two female characters that are more than just a shag or bimbo.
While the over-packed script certainly confuses the audience, the stunning performances from Burrows and Meaney make sure that “Three Day Millionaire” becomes a feelgood, bittersweet and typical British comedy about pulling off a heist, losing yourself and Grimsby’s heritage and traditions.
“Three Day Millionaire” is now in UK cinemas and available on digital platforms.
25th November 2022
THE QUICK SELL
A raucous black comedy about a gang of Grimsby Trawler-men who carry out the heist of a lifetime.