Schemers is an indie comedy based on true events taking place around Iron Maiden’s fabled 1980 Dundee concert. Possessing dual meaning, the film’s title describes both the endeavours of its leads and the council projects they reside in. Dave Mclean’s movie, inspired by his own life in the music industry, follows Davie (Conor Berry) and some pals – who are constantly on the lookout for their next hustle – and how they manage to hit the big time with their latest scheme.
The protagonist Davie is based on director Mclean, who also co-wrote and produced the almost-biopic. Mclean coaxes assured performances from a cast that appear to enjoy the material they are working with. The personal nature of the story is reflected in the script, with a personalised charm and wit enjoyed in the local vernacular. Local being Dundee’s council estate, where Davie spends a lot of time with his head in the clouds, thinking of how to earn some money. But it’s only a series of serendipitous events (and a football injury) that lead him to try his hand running a disco.
The disco scheme is a somewhat elaborate ruse to impress his nurse, Shona (Tara Lee), but Davie’s innocent-enough intentions pull him into a music scene rife with possibility and problems. Schemers occasionally mimics Trainspotting, the Danny Boyle cult classic, in its fast pace and intoxicating atmosphere. Disappointingly the production runs out of steam and the story unravels, petering out. The characters also need – criminally for a biopic – some fleshing out. A feature that starts off so quickly appears almost exhausted by the time it stumbles into its finish.
Schemers is released digitally on demand and on DVD on 25th January 2021.
Watch the trailer for Schemers here: