Poison Arrows review – mockumentary lovingly recreates world of darts

An entertaining comedy about fictional player Rocky Goldfingers is spoiled by its protagonist’s cockney-lite gags

It probably helps to be a darts fan to get a proper laugh out of this mockumentary from Simon Sprackling, who must have shot some of the scenes here at actual darts events. It all blends in so seamlessly (and had me reaching for my phone repeatedly to Google whether characters were real or invented).

What we’re watching is a fake documentary about darts player Rocky Goldfingers (Geoff Ball); loud, nasty and flashy in his gold-sequined shirt, Rocky is as much a professional geezer as a professional darts player. For the past 15 years, he’s been banged up for murdering a rival, Perry “The Poison Arrow” Peters – a crime Rocky says he didn’t commit.

Now a documentary-maker is filming his release from prison. This is Lewis Maitland (Ben Gardner Gray), who is going for a Louis Theroux fly-on-the-wall style with his film. Though, as his producer sarkily says, Maitland lacks the on-screen charisma to pull off the format – and his peevish irritation is nicely played by Gardner Gray. Maitland traipses after Rocky, who is haplessly hunting for clues as to the real murderer of the Poison Arrow.

There are some funny moments here and there. That said, cheap laughs at Rocky’s old-school misogyny and cockney-isms ­– “you old tart” – that are delivered with a Ray Winstone menace, leave a bad taste. And while the darts world feels lovingly recreated, less thought has gone into making this a convincing mockumentary. It’s a film full of characters doing things on camera they just wouldn’t do in real life with a camera shoved in their face.

• Poison Arrows is released on 20 December in cinemas and on digital platforms.


Cath Clarke

The GuardianTramp

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