small time obsession

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We are introduced to Michael (Alex King) at the greyhound stadium. He is carefully watching his prize greyhound, Bullitt, while Ali (Juliette Caton), a budding photographer and Michael's friend, is capturing the action with her camera at the finish line.

Later that night, Michael is with his friends, Chris (Jason Merrells), Steve (Oliver Young), and John (Richard Banks). They are planning a break-in at their local Polish club. Chris has been at the club earlier in the day and has left a window open so they can climb in and steal the money from the fruit machines. They're a disorganised bunch and have forgotten to bring anything to carry the money in so John has to remove his jumper and fill it with coins.

Unsurprisingly John drops the money as they all climb out through the window and the side-alley is covered with silver. As they scrabble to pick up the coins, sirens are heard in the distance and the four make a run for it, leaving much of the nights profits on the ground.

The next morning Michael is helping his father at the family's Polish delicatessen. Mr Korczynski (Jurek Jarosz) has heard about the break-in at the club and is certain that Chris has had something to do with it. Ali and Jackie (Kirsten Parker) come in to the deli to buy provisions for a friends wedding reception. They are some of his son's closest friends and Mr Korczynski is very fond of the girls. He gives them a bag of Polish sweets just as he did when they were children. Mr Korczynski thinks that his son should go out with a nice girl like Jackie, however it's obvious that Michael only has eyes for Ali. Unfortunately Ali is Chris' girlfriend.

An argument starts between Michael and his father, which sounds all too familiar to both of them. His father wants Michael to make a decision about whether he's going to take over the family business but Michael is reluctant as he knows this will mean he will have to give up working at the track and his dreams for his prize greyhound, Bullitt.

Away from the deli and the wedding preparations, Chris is in his shop surrounded by TVs, videos and hi-fis. He's making another dubious deal and in the course of the transaction discovers that an associate of his, Freddy, has stolen some VCRs from him. Chris is furious but decides to put off retribution until after the wedding.
The whole group gather at Mark and Lucy's wedding reception at the Polish club. There's traditional Polish music and the traditional Polish vodka is flowing. Michael is totally absorbed as he watches Chris and Ali dancing in each others arms but his reverie is disturbed by Jackie. She has the chance to go to chef school in Paris - it's what she always wanted but she seems reluctant to make a final decision. Michael tells her she must follow her heart and go to Paris but one suspects that Jackie's heart is far too attached to Michael to ever contemplate leaving. Michael slips back into his daydreams as he considers whether he should follow his own advice, still staring longingly at Ali.

Suddenly the wedding celebrations are disturbed by the arrival of two strangers. The guests look over, alarmed by this interruption, but Chris seems to know them and ushers the gatecrashers towards the corridor.

This is Geordie (Geoff Lawson) and his henchman, Pope (Giles Ward). Geordie is a small-time villain, looking to manoeuvre himself into the established underworld. He's made contact with local gangster Mr Page (Andrew Tiernan) who has a job for him. Geordie knows not to get his own hands dirty and therefore wants to pass the job onto Chris and his friends.
He explains the details of the job to Chris. It seems simple enough so Chris immediately seizes the opportunity to make some easy money. He introduces his friends to Geordie but Michael immediately makes a bad impression. His distrust of Geordie is evident for all to see and the situation is beginning to worry him.


When Geordie and Pope have left, Michael tries to persuade Chris to put an end to his criminal activities, even suggesting that he can go into business with him at the family deli, but Chris has bigger ideas. He's not going to spend the rest of his life behind a shop counter and has seen a way to step over Geordie and get into the big time. When Michael tries to pull out, Chris reminds him that he lent him the money to buy Bullitt and that he's under an obligation to continue to help him.

Ali is also worried about Chris's increasing criminal ambitions. She's been edgy all day and when Chris, once again, puts business before her she decides that she's had enough. She dashes out of the reception, on the verge of tears, only to be followed by Chris who cannot understand what the problem is. Ali then hits him with her surprise news - she's pregnant. Chris's instant reaction is that this is a lie to trick him into settling down, and he goes back to the wedding, leaving her confused and upset and walking home alone.

Later that night, the boys are together again to sort out that bit of business with Freddy and the VCRs. The baseball bats were just for show but Chris loses control and Michael has to pull him off Freddy, scared that he's about to kill him. Chris then turns on Michael and it's left to Steve and John to intervene.

Meanwhile, Ali confides to Jackie that she has decided to keep the baby whatever happens, even if that means bringing up the child on her own. She's loved Chris almost all her life but knows she can't wait any longer for him to change. Later she tells Chris that she was lying about the pregnancy and their relationship is over.
Michael is on the verge of going it alone but Steve tries to bring him back from the brink. He tries to persuade him that he should go on helping Chris. They're friends and they should stick together whatever happens. If Chris is getting in deeper than he should it's up to them to get him out of trouble, not walk away. Finally Michael agrees to go along on the job for Geordie. After all, it's just picking up a van and as Chris says Geordie is no big deal - however what they don't know is that this isn't Geordie's job but Page's and things are about to get very messy indeed.

The next day they all meet up and sit around waiting, drinking beer and laughing and joking, completely oblivious to the impending danger. A blue van draws up and Chris approaches. All they have to do is take the van and drive it back to a lock-up. The driver gives them the keys and drives away in another van. Suddenly there's a screech of brakes as customs officers apprehend the first driver. Michael is already behind the wheel and starts to drive away as quickly as possible but Chris is left behind desperately chasing after Michael as the customs officers close in.


Michael's worst fears have been confirmed. The whole thing got completely out of hand and as soon as they get back to the lockup Michael and Chris are yet again at each other's throats. When Geordie arrives, Michael takes out his anger on him as well. And Pope is just itching to teach him a lesson. Chris demands to know why the customs officers were there. He thinks he's been duped by Geordie but the van is just full of trainers. Geordie says it's a black-market deal and dismisses the trouble as a case of mistaken identity. Michael's not so sure......When Michael and the rest have left, Pope delves underneath the van to retrieve the real cargo - drugs.

Things are as bad as they can get between Michael and Chris. He takes a walk to try and cool down and bumps into Ali. Estranged from Chris, Michael decides he has nothing left to lose and confesses his feelings for her. Ali is touched. Perhaps this is what she wants and she begins to look at Michael in a different way - no longer as just a friend. They both go back to Ali's flat where they make love but later that night Ali is feeling confused and needs to talk to someone. She wakes up Jackie, but this is the last person who wants to hear all of this and Jackie tries to persuade her that she should be with Chris.

The next day, together as usual at the Polish club, Ali and Chris finally begin to talk. He wants to make things up to her but Michael interrupts their intimate téte à téte and is understandably upset to see them together again. Chris, seeing Michael's expression, suddenly understands what's been going on, and the tentative reconciliation is shattered.
Amidst all the commotion, Geordie arrives at the club. Michael is out of control and he unleashes a stream of abuse at Geordie and Pope as he goes to leave. Geordie is furious and he's determined to show Michael who's boss. They follow Michael out to the car park where Pope viciously attacks him leaving him lying in a bloody mess while his friends stay inside, oblivious to the events unfolding outside. Hurt, humiliated and more angry than he has ever been in his life, Michael takes a baseball bat to Geordie's car which is still in the car park and then stumbles away. His friends have let him down, they didn't defend him and Michael now feels he's really on his own.


Steve takes it upon himself to try and heal the rift between Michael and Chris. He wants Chris to lay off Michael. He's never complained before but things have never gone this far before.
Having been patched up at the hospital, Michael goes to find some peace and quiet at the greyhound stadium but his friends know where to find him. While Steve is trying to talk some sense into Chris, Jackie tries the same with Michael.

As they go to leave the stadium Pope is outside with Bullitt. Michael lunges at Pope but they are disturbed and he runs away vowing to finish off Michael another day but Bullitt breaks free from his leash and chases after Pope driving him into the path of an oncoming car. Michael and Jackie chase after him to find him dead in the middle of the road.
With Pope dead, Geordie wants Michael sorted out. He's threatened his operation and insists that Chris arranges a meeting. Chris explains the dilemma to his friends. Geordie wants Michael or he's coming after Chris. The friends are torn - where does their loyalty lie and can they choose between them.

Steve goes to see Michael to try and make him understand that it's not just about him. Chris owes money to Geordie for the musical equipment he gave to John, which is why he has to keep on working for him. Ali appears and appeals to Michael to help his friends. She cares about them both and doesn't want to see either of them get hurt. Ali's concern persuades Michael that he must go through with it and face Geordie so he arranges to meet Chris at a disused factory. Geordie arrives and in a split second Chris decides to stand up to him. He's not prepared to let Geordie hurt Michael. The other boys are waiting secretly in another part of the building listening to what's happening and when Geordie stabs Chris and then goes after Ali and Michael, they rush to their defence. A brutal fight erupts and Steve has to stop Michael from killing Geordie. When Ali can get back to Chris she finds him in a pool of blood. He's alive but only just.

Chris is taken to hospital. He's OK and they all go to visit. Seeing Ali at Chris's bedside, Michael realises that it's time to let go - of Chris, of Ali and this whole situation. Everything's changed and this experience has made them all wiser. It's up to Michael to make his own decisions now.


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