Review in Brief: The Toll (2021)

You don’t get a Welsh gangster film every day, but THE TOLL makes you feel that’s a damn shame. It’s low-key stylish and non-linear, like PULP FICTION if it wasn’t as pleased with itself, with a rich seam of gallows humour and plenty of wry one-liners (“I used to babysit you when you were a little twat!”, “Sit down, you’re making the place look uncomfortable”). Michael Smiley is the British film industry’s go-to likeable criminal, and here he plays his toll booth godfather straight and scary as the rest of his bumbling underworld associates (including Paul Kaye and Iwan Rheon) act like they’re auditioning for the idiot parts in a Coen brothers movie. Like FARGO too there is a lone straight arrow country cop (Annes Elwy) grieving for a tragic loss and trying to keep the peace through an understanding (up to a point) with the local criminal element, but things are inevitably heading for a bloody end. SSP

About Sam Sewell-Peterson

Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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