Paul Cook 29/05/2010
First things first: PIMP isn't a good film. Straight-to-DVD releases go straight to DVD for a reason. The budget can not accommodate a cinema-release and their quality doesn't warrant one. There are a handful of issues with this latest Danny Dyer wide-boy, hardman flick. The first is Dyer himself. His acting has deteriorated into a pastiche of itself, more mockney than ever and brimming with cliché one-liners. The whole film is cheapened by Dyer's distasteful style of acting, the constant emphasis on swearing and his inability to tone down any role to a believable level. In the case of PIMP, Dyer's exuberant over-acting ruins any illusion of the mockumentary style. You simply can't have both in a film.
There are some positives nonetheless. Lead actor Robert Cavanah who plays the hard-nosed yet understanding Woody gives an intriguing portrayal of a Soho pimp struggling with the darker side of his job and his own moral convictions. As Cavanah is the co-writer and director of the film also, credit must go to him for his efforts at pulling the film up by its bootstraps. Perhaps his dialogue only appears to be more fluid and realistic in comparison to the other caricatures of cockney hard-men, nevertheless it's an improvement. Much of the cinematography of the film is also impressive. The brutality and grimy reality of the sex industry in Soho set against the prosperity of the London skyline works well. So too do the long, lingering close-ups that effectively add to a sense of delving into the murky underground of Woody's profession.
Without Dyer and the needless use of a mockumentary style the film could have actually worked. If PIMP was a gritty, British drama that followed the life of Woody through his physical and mental conflict it might not have been slated across the board. Ifs and buts aside however, PIMP is a distasteful and at times, offensively racist film that through the misguidance of style and casting fails to engage the viewer and its attempt at a hard-hitting documentary-style is simply unfounded as soon as Dyer arrives on-screen.