Dir.: John Goldschmidt | Cast: Jonathan Pryce, Jerome Holder, Pauline Collins, Phil Davis, Ian Hart, Natasha Gordon; UK/Hungary | 94 min.
Veteran director John Goldschmidt (Maschenka) is best known for his TV work and here turns his hand to a feel-good portrait of London’s East End, where hero and villains live next door and no harm is done – really.
Kosher baker Nat Dayan (Pryce), whose wife has recently died, is about to lose his family shop to the greedy developer Sam Cotton (Phil Davis). His son Stephen, a Cambridge-educated lawyer, urges him to retire. Enter Ayyash Habimana (Holder), a black teenager from Nigeria, who shares Nat’s religious observance, although his Muslim faith does not prevent him from working for local drug dealer Sam Cotton (Hart). Nat is reluctant to employ Ayyash, whose mother is already on the baker’s payroll but when he does it emerges that Ayyash has hidden talents taking the bakery’s turnover and profits to sensational new heights. When the young Nigerian accidentally drops a pack of hashish into the challah dough, things go slightly out of hand, as Nat’s customers, friends and family are suddenly under the influence with dramatic consequences for all concerned. Masquerading as realism, DOUGH is just a run-of-the-mill early evening TV fare where everything falls into place, including a happy-end for Nat, in the shape of his landlady Joanna Silverman (Collins). Seeing him dancing with his granddaughter in the puddles in front of his shop (having watched Gene Kelly’s original over and over), is too cringingworthy. DoP Peter Hannan (Withnail & I) tries his best to make use of the studio-atmosphere, but cannot do much to save the saccharine narrative. A lightweight and unassuming watch. AS
ON RELEASE FROM 2 JUNE 2017