Freefall Review: W*nker Bankers

July 13, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

FREEFALL: Tuesday 14th July, BBC2, 9pm Alert Me

It’s not like we needed help to hate bankers and mortgage brokers but if you were on the fence, then watch this; you’ll soon be grabbing your pitchforks and joining the rest of us.

Starting a year before the market went bottom up and then jumping one year on from there, we’re shown three stories that interweave, conveying the spectrum of suffering that greed and poor judgement caused.

A couple with kids, Jim and Mandy, are living a simple life and are convinced to get a mortgage they don’t need by Dave; blagger extraordinaire. Dave’s young, flash, into cars and women. Dave is a bell-end.

Gus is a top dog banker; playing puppet master with bonds and making an obscene profit. He’s every reason that people hate bankers and that’s before the credit crunch even hit.

He’s a selfish manchild who barely notices that he has a child and a girlfriend who need his affection. The phrase ‘bankers are w*nkers’ became a literal interpretation with this guy, and a scene where he does coke off of a gents hand drier came as no surprise. Watching his world spiral downwards around him is hugely compelling and satisfying.

Dave and Gus are your typical selfish, swaggering blokey pilllocks with barely half a conscience between them. The heart of the piece comes from Jim and Mandy’s story, particularly Mandy, played touchingly by Anna Maxwell Martin. Jim (Joseph Mawle) struggles on crap wages to barely afford things he never wanted until he saw Dave. There’s something being said about the greed of men here and the blame is shifted squarely onto their shoulders.

The handheld, fly on the wall style gives it a documentary look that at times feels a little too close for comfort. To tell stories of things that have really happened we sometimes need a stylistic buffer between us and the tragedy on screen, but with that barrier removed here, the stories strike a harsh blow.

There are moments of intense emotion; people losing jobs and homes, being pestered by banks and the toll it takes on a relationship. But there are also almost one or two moments of satisfaction, as the people that ruined our lives are confronted, whileer people get more than a little karmic reaction for the trouble they’ve caused.

It’s very well acted with a naturalistic tone which makes it feel very intimate. It’s also great casting, and even Sarah Harding was bearable in the two scenes she was in. Alfie Allen had a small understated role and was a nice change from the bastards Gus (Aiden Gillen) and Dave (Dominic Cooper).

Much like the recession, it was bleak for the duration, but curiously uplifting in its wake.

Emily Moulder