The pandemic has resulted in several smaller UK distributors seizing their opportunity to get their films out to a wider audience by complying with the UK theatrical window and putting then in as many cinemas as well have them while they are desperate for new content. Case in point, this low budget Dundee set vanity project/biographical drama Co written and directed by Scottish concert promoter David McLean focusing on his early life am and his attempt to bring Iron Maiden to Dundee in 1978.
If the world wasn’t in the midst of a pandemic this is the sort of low key affair that would play a few festivals before being shuffled off into the endless VOD library before being entirely forgotten. As it is this mildly contemptible project is getting a wide theatrical release. It is one in a long list of Scottish productions that could be used as evidence that Irvin Welsh is the worst thing to happen to Scottish media. Endless filmmaker’s have tried to make Trainspotting rip-offs then that are so generic at this point you can watch one and simultaneously cross off all the aesthetic and story beats of many more. Schemers is actually one of the more tolerable entrance in that it’s never overly obsessed with showing just how deplorable it characters are (without establishing why viewers should care about them.) That said it doesn’t offer anything watches won’t have seen before (beyond the novelty of local residents being able to see Dundee on the big screen.) By the time the film ends with an extended PowerPoint showcasing the career of its writer/director /subject it stands as nothing more than a naked exercise in showcasing McLean and his vanity it’s on full display to anyone with half a brain cell. Some self-centred projects like this can be fascinating curio’s but this one is far too indebted to obvious influences within the Scottish film scene to be interesting in that context. Unless viewers are somehow aware of McLean and his work the film holds almost no interest for anyone outside of its target audience. Best avoided even patrons are desperate to watch something new in cinemas during these trying times.