Watch Chancers: The Great Gangster Film Fraud 2016 online free streaming
Documentary about a bankrupt Jordanian entrepreneur and an unemployed Irish actress who hatch a plan to scam £2.5m off the British taxman by faking the production of a £20m movie. But they are found out, arrested and then bailed. While out on bail, they decide to prove their innocence by actually making a film. They hire a former nightclub bouncer, now a self-made micro-budget gangster film director. In 2011, Paul Knight makes their movie for under £100,000 with a cast of soap and gangster movie stars including Danny Midwinter, Marc Bannerman and Loose Women's Andrea McLean. The film's title is A Landscape of Lies. But the cinematic alibi does not convince the jury when the trial runs in 2013. The producers are convicted of tax fraud and given long sentences.
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Chancers: The Great Gangster Film Fraud movie full length review - Low-Key Documentary about Low-Key Fraudsters
The subtitle of this documentary: "The Great Gangster Fraud" is a bit of a misnomer.
Ben Lewis's film focuses on a group of small- time rogues - a bankrupt Jordanian financier, an Irish actor and would-be tycoon, a Manchester-based architect and two of their acolytes - as they concoct an ambitious plan to make a £20m. film with big stars, fabulous locations, and all the publicity trimmings.
There are only a few snags: they haven't any money, their publicity materials are shoddy (with spectacular spelling errors such as writing Michael Caine's name as Michael Kane), and they haven't the first clue how to film a script. What they do possess, however, is a certain chutzpah which enables them to obtain £80K. out of Britain's government through fraud. The HM Tax Office spends the next two or three years pursuing them in an attempt to recover it.
Narrated as a would-be gangster flick by Tony Carling, we are led to believe that these fraudsters see themselves as latter-day Krays, bucking the system and leading the high life. They engage an Essex- based director (Paul Knight) with experience of working within that environment. Yet their strategies are so inexplicably amateurish that we end up wondering how they got away with it in the first place. Perhaps the subject-matter would have been better suited for a remake of late Fifties Rank comedies such as TOO MANY CROOKS (1959).
The material has a certain macabre potential, but the documentary is at least half an hour too long, with too much time given over to testimonies from those associated with the entire misbegotten project. Perhaps director Ben Lewis might have been better advised to treat the whole affair as a black comedy.