25th Apr2014

Top 5: Unbelievable True Stories in Film

by Phil Wheat

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Featuring a talented young cast including Ed Speleers, Will Poulter, Alfie Allen, Sebastian De Souza and Emma Rigby, upcoming heist drama Plastic centres on a ring of university students who become credit card thieves in order to augment their income. When the group accidentally rob a notorious gangster, they are forced to up their game to pay him back 10 times the amount they stole. After travelling to Miami, the group set their sights on a daring jewellery heist that could not only cover their debt but also make them filthy rich.

This crazy story of money, sex and action is based on the real-life exploits of Saqib Mumtaz, a Manchester student who – along with his friends – targeted high-profile victims such as Saudi Arabian arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi and former model and then-wife of Mohammed al Fayed, Heini Fayed with a credit card scam.

To celebrate the theatrical release of Plastic on April 30th, we take a look at some other movies which have told unbelievable real-life stories.

The Bling Ring

Emma Watson’s exploits in The Bling Ring were about as far away as you can get from her breakthrough role as Hermione in the Harry Potter series. The actress starred as Nicki in the Sofia Coppola movie, a member of a group of young people who rob the houses of the rich and famous. The film was based on the real-life daring crimes of seven teenagers in California – dubbed the Bling Ring – who stole around $3million worth of possessions from celebrities including Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Orlando Bloom in 2009.

127 Hours

Watching James Franco desperately hacking away at his own arm in 127 Hours is so excruciating that it is hard to believe this film is based on the real-life story of Aron Ralston. Back in 2003, the climber got his right arm trapped by a large boulder as he descended a slot canyon in Utah. Ralston was stuck for over 5 days and eventually made the courageous and agonising decision to amputate his arm with his pocket knife in order to escape, and ultimately survive. Danny Boyle’s 2010 movie adaptation of Ralston’s incredible story 127 Hours was met with critical acclaim and was nominated for six Academy Awards.

I Love You, Phillip Morris

2009’s I Love You, Phillip Morris sees Jim Carrey star as a cop-turned-conman who is sent to prison where he falls in love with fellow inmate Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). The subsequent tale of multiple prison escapes is even more incredible when you consider that it is the real-life story of notorious con artist Steven Jay Russell. Russell is currently serving a 144-year sentence for his crimes, which include posing as a lawyer, a judge and an FBI agent. He said of the movie adaptation,”I think it’s a good title. I did those things because I wanted to be with Phillip. I was out of control.”

Bernie

In Bernie, Jack Black stars as all-round nice guy and mortician Bernie Tiede, who befriends and later kills an elderly millionaire named Marjorie Nugent. The 2011 movie is based on the real story of Tiede, who is currently serving a life sentence for Nugent’s murder. In a strange twist, as shown in the film, the real-life Bernie was so well-liked in his hometown of Carthage, Texas that his trial divided opinion among residents, with many expressing their support for the self-confessed murderer.

The Social Network

The story of a 19-year-old university student setting up a website from his dorm which would go on to have over one billion active users and transform him into a multi-billionaire is a pretty unbelievable one, but it just so happens to be true. 2010 movie The Social Network tracks the incredible story of Mark Zuckerberg as he created a little social networking site you may have heard of called Facebook. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards – of which it won three – and won four Golden Globes.
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Plastic hits UK cinemas on April 30th.

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