Playing for the away team is American pharmacologist Elmo McElroy (Samuel L Jackson) who has fled to Britain (Liverpool to be exact) in order to sell his genius invention however on the mighty home team who are shooting towards the Kop have Felix Desousa (Robert Carlyle) on side, he is a simple guy involved in petty crime who will do anything in order to get a ticket to see the match even if it means harbouring a man wanted by The Lizard (a Powerful Drug entrepreneur in America) Desousa has a simple enough job get McElroy to Ernie Durant (Ricky Tomlinson) a gangster in Liverpool in return for his tickets for the match (in case you have not yet guessed this movie has a lot to do with gangster fuelled Crime) however this all goes horribly wrong (if you ask my opinion it was when the whole ‘take care of him’ incident took place) when Desousa’s ex girlfriend Dakota Philips (Emily Morlimer) is hired by the lizard to get McElroy back to him she then shoots everyone involved with the deal except for Desousa and McElroy who are now left alone to find a buyer for this drug (pos51) who are prepared to pay $20million for the privilege.
There then goes on to be many twists and turns including 2 grown men being stuck with a Minnie to drive around Liverpool in but the questions are Will The Lizard or Dakota ever catch up with McElroy and Desousa? Will any deal take place? Most importantly of all will Desousa make it to the game? And if so what will the final score be?
The opening of this film is pretty much the most serious it gets as it is explaining to you why everything is the way it is, it begins in 1970’s America this gives us the background as to why McElroy is like he is (genius pharmacologist who is charged for possession on the day he graduates and is therefore already unable to practice legally) it then goes on to modern day and show him making this drug which is going to make him rich you also see why The Lizard wants to get McElroy (he tried to kill him) it also shows why Dakota has to go to Liverpool on The Lizards command (she is in debt with him and this will be entirely wiped out if she gets McElroy killed however The lizard later decides that McElroy is worth more to him alive) this explains why all the action is taking place in Liverpool. The humour is soon to begin with Desousa taking the Mickey out of Americans with an annoying uptight chemist in the back however on the way to the airport Desousa takes a detour to a Manchester pub and begins taunting the locals and after a mix up outside the pub leading to the line ‘take care of him’ the annoying chemist Laurence mysteriously goes missing!
This well written film is reminiscent of what has been done before however the sheer quality of acting makes it a box office smash many of the actors used are familiar with Liverpool therefore they were all up to standard with the accent, humour and comical timing which can only be met in Liverpool there is also a well developed friendship which can be scene among the actors which makes the film an even better smash hit. Felix Desousa ( Robert Carlyle) portrays a typical scally who’s still living with his mum, he’s in his mid 30’s, and is involved in petty crime but has always swayed away from big time crime as he enjoys his home comforts too much weather it be eating home made meals cooked for him by his mum or watching a Liverpool match in which he will do anything to get there. He also brings humour to the film via his dynamic duo with McElroy.
Elmo McElroy ( Samuel L Jackson ) a genius pharmacologist who is trying to make money ($20million) via selling his drug (pos51) He has escaped from America (after double crossing The Lizard) to Liverpool McElroy is basically a bald black guy wearing a kilt with attitude. The dynamics between these two actors make this film what it is as the characters have there differently unique attitudes with different morals and values and are forced together under circumstances far from normal and are put under huge quantities of pressure in which they will have to form a bond quickly or die. Dakota Philips (Emily Mortimer) fled to America to gain new exitement in life but is forced back to Liverpool in order to do The Lizards dirty work when she meets back up with Desousa.
To sum it all up the 51st state is a film with a complicated plot with twists and turns throughout however whilst watching it, it sorts itself out in your head, it may be perceived as a lads only film however I think it has something for everyone as it includes the obvious gangster style film with shootings, chases and deals throughout however it also puts a comical twist on this which weakens the gross out factor it also has the added romance between Desousa and Dakota which also makes it the perfect film for anyone who likes romantic comedies (not the cheesy style), it is also a mind boggling film.
This film also involves a deeper message of love and friendship and also tells us that just as something seems like something on the surface doesn’t mean that it actually is that (as complicated as the plot leaves your head feeling) by the end of this film you realise that McElroy is a far cleverer person than you first suspected. It also leaves you wanting to watch it again. Personally this is not a film I would have immediately took off the shelf and knew I would like but as long as you are prepared to give it the chance it deserves I am sure you too will be a 51st state convert.