Movie Review – Schemers (2020)

JulieGMay 14, 202110 min

IMDb Rating: 5.4

1h 31min | Comedy, Crime | 25 Sep 2020 (UK) | Movie

CinemaScore Rating: N/A

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 36% Rotten (Critics)

Director:  Dave Mclean

Writers:   Dave Mclean, Khaled Spiewak, Kyle Titterton

Stars: Conor Berry, Sean Connor, Grant Robert Keelan

Tagline: “Always let ambition blind ability”.

IMDb summary: His football career over, Davie starts promoting gigs in Dundee with two friends, leading to a hugely ambitious Iron Maiden show. Out of his depth and in debt with gangster Fergie, Davie needs to pull off the biggest scheme of his life.




There’s something so ballsy and gritty about the 70s and 80s. It’s an inescapable feeling of a moment in time when people were a lot rougher around the edges. Enter Dave “Davie” McLean, a young lad with ambition, heart and a dream to become a music promoter. Schemers is based on the true story of Davie McLean and two of his friends who decide to start a music promotion business. With Davie’s charm, John’s money (his life savings) and Scot’s muscle, the group decide to get involved with some dodgy people to make their dream work. And this is where things get really interesting for the audience and less so for the lads from Dundee.

Schemers is set in Dundee, Scotland – a city most people have never heard of other than it’s in the United Kingdom. And because of this connection, there are bound to be similarities drawn between this film and Trainspotting. Trainspotting was more about drug addiction than anything else, but it had the same gritty, in-your-face feel to it that gave it a unique edge. But that’s about where the similarities end. Trainspotting felt a lot more difficult to watch, but it had a pace that worked exceptionally well with dialogue to match. On the other hand, schemers is very slow to start, and that pacing seems to dampen the film’s delivery from the beginning. This, in turn, makes it a lot harder to stay interested in Davie’s journey.


We weren’t too sure what to expect with Schemers, but the trailer certainly leaves you feeling like you’re going to get one heavy hitter about raw beginnings for some of the most sort-after bands to come out of the United Kingdom. But that isn’t the case at all. As Davie and his mates finally get their shit together, they falter again with one of the biggest opportunities (and bands) they’ve had. Everything goes sideways pretty fast, including the storyline and any interest you may have in this group of misfits from Dundee.

And the soundtrack is also a bit of a disappointment. We took an avid interest in checking out the official soundtrack for the film but couldn’t find a listing of the songs anywhere. This is a bit of a shame because the movie focuses on music and how Davie McLean followed his dreams to London to promote talented bands and musicians.

Using Dundee as a backdrop for the film is one huge positive about Schemers. It adds to the general grittiness of Davie’s environment and adds a level of authenticity to Davie’s story.

Watching Schemers felt like watching something from the outside looking in. In other words, you know that you’re outside of whatever is happening to Davie and his mates instead of living through the experiences of these characters on-screen. Ultimately, Schemers is not a movie about music but a personal journey about a young man who dared to step out of the mould and do something amazing with his life. But as an audience, you really don’t get to feel that about him until the end of the film.

Check out the trailer on YouTube:


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