There’s crime on the streets of South London and writer/director Jacques Aldridge gives us a look at the gritty world of loan sharks and double crosses in his feature film It Don’t Bother Me At All.
Aldridge plays Cillian Fink Prettycomb, a man who works for Nigel, the unseen boss of a local crime ring. Fink runs a storefront of stolen goods but is eager to move up the gangland ladder. His new assignment is to collect the finances necessary to fund a murder – but he aspires to be the assassin instead. Also vying for this opportunity are “Jamaican Lady Grace” (Hanna Marie Brown), who spends her time selling illegal items out of her van, and “Jack the American Marksman” (Logan A. Ryan), who seems to be the most qualified for the job, but is turned down because he is, alas, an American.
Responsible for all these decisions is “Irish Peach” (Eileen Kent), a no-nonsense woman determined to do whatever it takes to make Nigel happy. And what would make Nigel happy at the moment is to see the assassination of Chef Claire Skinner, who was accused of poisoning the patrons of her restaurant, but was not convicted because of a lack of evidence.
Fink hires 23 year old “space cadet” Nikki Cumbersome (Ashley McQueston) to keep an eye on the storefront while he’s out collecting money. He has a sweet, parental affection for Nikki and is quick to share his thoughts with her. These include fatherly advice about staying away from drugs, but also, apropos of nothing, a mundane listing of the bands he once followed.
Fink is ultimately forced to decide whether his loyalty lies with Nigel or with his own interests. What road will he choose to walk down, and what will be the consequences in either direction?
There’s quite a lot happening in this film, probably too much, in fact. The plot is overly complex and doesn’t help us find a necessary empathy for the characters. And, unfortunately, there are plot holes abound. Towards the end, for instance, Fink makes a kind gesture but not for the benefit of Nikki, who he calls his best friend. Instead, he directs this kindness inexplicably towards Nikki’s cousin, who is barely in the film, and is somehow also named Nikki.
The script is tied down with too many phrases (“Nosy dosy panty hosy” among them) that seem to borrow from a lesser version of Don Cheadle’s character in Ocean’s Eleven. Dawne Ellison, who plays Dol Cumbersome, Nikki’s mother, makes the most out of these lines, showing a natural sincerity in the scenes she shares with Aldridge.
But, at the end of the day, It Don’t Bother Me At All is a film with a meandering plot, and performances that feel rushed and unconvincing. It was a film that may have had an idea of what it wanted to be, but not necessarily what it wanted to say.