Minnie Driver and Mary McCormack seek to score on a heist.
DIRECTED BY MEL SMITH/2001
BLU-RAY STREET DATE: OCTOBER 23, 2018/KINO LORBER STUDIO CLASSICS
Despite the dubious title that might give one the wrong idea about the plot of the latest film to be released to Blu-ray through Kino Lorber, High Heels and Low Lifes has nothing to do with the oldest occupation, but does dabble in the criminal underworld. What it truly is, is a film about two women (high heels) who get involved in a bank heist, putting them around the criminal underworld (low lifes).
Minnie Driver (Grosse Point Blank, Good Will Hunting) plays Shannon, a nurse who is dating a guy who has audio equipment for listening in on people’s phone conversations. He likes to record them and mixes them into his future CD of “urban soundscapes”. After he bails on Shannon’s birthday celebration to work on this project, she goes out for drinks with her best friend Frances, played by Mary McCormack (Gun Shy, 1408), a struggling actress.
When they return to Shannon’s apartment, they listen in on a phone conversation of an in-progress bank heist. This leads to them taking the information to the police who don’t have time to listen to two women describing a possible bank robbery based on a phone call they were eavesdropping on. Coinciding with their need for money, and the police’s lack of interest, the two girls concoct a plan to blackmail the lowly look-out man they overheard on the phone for a cut of the score. What they don’t know is that he has already alerted his boss, who alerted his boss, and now Shannon and Frances are being hunted by some of the most dangerous criminal crime bosses in Great Britain.
Of course, this all goes down with lots of humor and physical comedy, especially involving Frances who utilizes her acting skills and props to give the impression over the phone that the crime lords are dealing with a clever man who keeps thwarting their assassination attempts. They think they’re dealing with two pros, when the fact is that both Frances and Shannon are totally inept at being criminals, but do have a bit of luck on their side. The police eventually get on to the case they originally ignored, and keep getting the description of an attractive blonde and brunette being present at each crime scene that ensues. The rest of the film is a three-way chase scene whereby the criminals are chasing Frances and Shannon, who are chasing the criminals to get their cut of the money, with the police chasing both.
Mary McCormack is like 2001’s version of Kate McKinnon, especially if you compare her role here to something like this year’s The Spy Who Dumped Me. Both are adept at creating different characters within the same film, and both are very good at handling the physical comedy that comes with becoming these alter egos while maintaining the same character traits of the lead role they are playing in the film. It is a surprise to me how Mary McCormack didn’t receive some of the same type of recognition that McKinnon earns today for her comedy bonafides. Minnie Driver is always fun and plays the straight, set-up role of the two characters to McCormack’s more over-the-top-since-she’s-an-actor-in-the-film-based performance.
High Heels and Low Lifes also features performances by Kevin McNally, Mark Williams, Danny Dyer, Michael Gambon, Darren Boyd, Simon Scardifield, and Len Collin, along with a brief appearance by Hugh Bonneville.
The Blu-ray from Kino Lorber, dubbed a “Special Edition” of this film, features audio commentary by Screenwriter Kim Fuller, who also developed the story along with Georgia Pritchett, along with voice actor Lewis Macleod. There they provide some interesting tidbits that take you behind the scenes of the filming and storyline.
The film is presented in 5.1 surround and 2.0 lossless audio, and 1080P.