VIFF Review: Beeba Boys

Turns out crime doesn’t pay. Who knew?

Beeba Boys is not the kind of movie that you’d expect from director Deepa Mehta in that it’s a violent movie about gangsters. It is a movie you’d expect from her, though, in that it’s a movie with a pretty clear message and moral stance.

Despite a trailer that makes it look like Goodfellas crossed with The Wolf of Wallstreet, it turns out the movie is… Well, actually, it’s kind of like that. If you only watch the film’s first act, you might think it glorifies gang violence, but when you watch the rest of the story unfold, you’ll realize that the opposite is true.

2015 Vancouver International Film Festival

The movie’s main characters, the self-proclaimed Beeba Boys –“Good Boys” is the direct translation– are flashy, violent, Indo-Canadian gang operating in Vancouver who are high on life and themselves and about to take on the existing kingpin of Indo-Canadian crime in a gang war. As with those other movies, things start out going well for the Beebas, and when things are going well, they’re going great, but when things start to go poorly, they start to go _horribly_.

The leader of the Beebas, Jeet, lives the high life of crime wearing bespoke suits and keeping a white girlfriend in a penthouse apartment, but also lives with his parents and cares for his infant son, a fact that causes no small amount of family drama.

Randeep Hooda plays Jeet and does a good job of getting across both the character’s good Sikh and ruthless gangster sides. Jeet does his best to do his best for those he loves but ultimately destroys the lives of those around him.

There’s not a lot I can say about the story that isn’t a spoiler, but I can tell you it was nice to see Vancouver playing Vancouver for a change, and also that Paul Gross has a small cameo in which he gets his throat cut and that I very much enjoyed those scenes. I mean that in the “I actually enjoyed his performance for once” sense, not the “I want to watch him get murdered” sense.

Beeba Boys has a few issues; a whole bunch of exposition by news at the start, a side plot with Jeet’s girlfriend’s family that felt unnecessary, characters dying off-screen who we haven’t really had a chance to care about, but these aren’t huge problems, and at the end of the day it’s still a movie worth seeing.