BIG ISSUE NATIONAL VENDOR WEEK
LEARN MORE
Opinion

Fool Me Once is unfocused but fun – and left me with my gob open, trying to keep up

Lucy Sweet was expecting a slow start to 2024. The new Michelle Keegan-starring drama had other ideas

Michelle Keegan as Maya in Fool Me Once.

Michelle Keegan as Maya in Fool Me Once. Image: Matt Squire/Netflix © 2023.

It’s only been 2024 for about five minutes and we’ve had a 16-year-old darts champion who doesn’t look a day over 46, Barry Keoghan doing unspeakable things to plugholes, and Diane from The Traitors, who is now a gay icon from the top of her voluminous gingery head right down to the bottom of her Karrimor gilet.  

I’m exhausted already. I think I was expecting what marketing types like to call a ‘soft launch’ this year. Maybe a few weeks of de-escalation from the high-pitched horrors of 2023? A few cups of herbal tea, perhaps, and some nice cosy episodes of Winterwatch?  

(Or maybe not. I just googled Winterwatch and was met with the screaming headline ‘OUTRAGE OVER DEAD DEER FOOTAGE.’ Viewers are up in arms, with one saying: “Trying to eat my dinner and a rotting dead deer carcass is shown on Winterwatch being eaten by a greedy fox. Lovely bit of viewing to turn me off my tea.”)  

Change a Big Issue vendor’s life this winter by purchasing a Winter Support Kit. You’ll receive four copies of the magazine and create a brighter future for our vendors

Yes, it looks like along with its friends 2020-23, 2024 is going to be another unpredictable year filled with WTF energy that may possibly put us off our food. So we may as well embrace it. And what better way to do that than to join *checks I’m not hallucinating* Michelle Keegan as an ex-military helicopter instructor in Fool Me Once

It seems that Stockport’s finest has landed herself a Hollywood action hero job in this splashy adaptation of Harlan Coben’s bestselling airport thriller, and it’s so preposterous that I can’t really describe it.  

Instead, I’m just going to tell you the general things I’m seeing on the screen, like a traumatised child making a picture from fuzzy felt. Keegan plays Maya, who has served in Iraq and has flashbacks while she’s sitting in her large and well-appointed kitchen, or tending to her giant toddler Lily, who is about the same height as she is.  

She is also grieving her dead sister and her husband, who was shot by two robbers on bikes while they walked in a park. OR WAS HE?? Well, we don’t know. It looks like it, but then her friend comes round to give her a digital photo frame with a secret camera in it (a normal thing that happens all the time) and it records him with giant Lily, even though he’s meant to be dead. Also, there’s the small matter of Maya owning a Glock which she hides in her utility room – the same gun that killed her sister.

Then there’s Joanna Lumley as Maya’s mother-in-law, Judith. She lives in a stately home and does that offended flared nostril face only Queen Joanna can do, like someone eating a deer carcass lasagne. It turns out that two of her sons have mysteriously died in mysterious circumstances, and she’s also the kingpin of Burkett Industries, a ubiquitous and shady Halliburton-style company. 

Also, a hapless detective (Adeel Akhtar) is on Maya’s case, but he’s got something wrong with him which is causing him to black out and crash his car into fences. Is he in league with the Burketts? Honestly, poor Maya barely has time to run her helicopter training school what with all the weird shenanigans going on!  

Meanwhile, I’m sitting on the sofa with my gob open, trying to keep up. Luckily, there is so much clunky exposition in every scene that even if I went to Iraq and back in one of Maya’s helicopters, I wouldn’t miss a thing. Of course, it’s also lots of fun in a hysterical, unfocused and very 2024 kind of way. Keegan does an admirable job of looking harassed, shooting guns and running around a lot in leggings, and the kitchens are to die for. But the most baffling aspect of it is: how come Tina from Corrie is doing all this? Was everyone in America off sick when they cast it?  

Fool Me Once is streaming on Netflix.

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine, which exists to give homeless, long-term unemployed and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income. To support our work buy a copy!

If you cannot reach your local vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue or give a gift subscription. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play


National Vendor Week 2024

A celebration of people who are working their way out of poverty.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Food banks dread the inevitable consequences of abandoning the household support fund
food bank/ household support fund
Sabine Goodwin

Food banks dread the inevitable consequences of abandoning the household support fund

I'm going to persuade the government to declare war on poverty. Here's how 
John Bird

I'm going to persuade the government to declare war on poverty. Here's how 

Writer Neil Ansell: 'Homelessness stalked me all my life, but I made peace with it'
Neil Ansell

Writer Neil Ansell: 'Homelessness stalked me all my life, but I made peace with it'

Disabled people on benefits aren't to blame for UK's recession – the Tories are
Prime minister Rishi Sunak in Downing Street
Rachel Charlton-Dailey

Disabled people on benefits aren't to blame for UK's recession – the Tories are

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Here's when UK households to start receiving last cost of living payments
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Here's when UK households to start receiving last cost of living payments

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know