*NEW* BROTHERHOOD REVIEW *NEW*

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#TheEnd #ShouldClarkeHaveBovvered?

With Sam (Noel Clarke) facing up to the new world, he realizes it also comes with new problems and new challenges. Ones that will require old friends to help him survive new dangers.

From the moment the Grime music blared through the speakers and Fekky’s track Gossip ft. Giggs was booming around the living room, I was sure that this wasn’t going to be my cup of tea.

My brother and cousin chucked it on. Challenging my film critic title to assess Clarke’s latest foray into the East London underbelly.

I’ll own up and admit that I haven’t even seen the other two films (Kidulthood and Adulthood) BUT as the events unfolded and the story got going, I actually didn’t mind it.

A surprisingly watchable and entertaining (if predictable) gritty Brit gangster flick.

I didn’t even need to watch the other two to grasp what was going on. It might fill in gaps and deliver little nods for fans of the trilogy BUT the back stories were quite easy to piece together. PLUS it helped that Clarke threw in a quick flashback here and there.

Clarke was very good as Sam. The man desperate to make things right. Only for his past misgivings to punish the ones who are close to him yet again.

He was an interesting protagonist that made you feel just as conflicted as himself. Cheering as he tried to turn his life around and then yelling at the idiot for making the same mistakes.

I had to laugh at how easily he fell for the alluring Janette (Tonia Sotiropoulou). A femme fatale if ever there was one. Like watching a car crash. She really has a strange way of washing a shirt (People who have seen it will know what I’m talking about).

Inevitably, it wasn’t long before Sam was thrown into trouble. Jason Maza (Welcome to the Punch) and Leeshon Alexander were brilliant as the head honchos Daley and HUGS.

The Essex duo could have easily come off as really bad stereotypes BUT they mastered the balance perfectly and were highly unpleasant villains.

You could feel yourself getting riled up at Daley’s cockiness and HUGS’ slimy demeanour as they tore Sam’s world to pieces.

BUT it was Henry (Arnold Oceng – The Good Lie) who stole the show for me. The reluctant friend roped into helping Sam during his hour of need.

Saving him from a good kicking by a group of thugs with nothing more than a TN cap and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toy under his coat.

There was a lot more humour in this than I expected with Oceng delivering every time. Mocking up a fake argument with a traffic warden to evade the suspicions of his wife. Brilliant!

BUT Oceng wasn’t just the comic relief. Henry’s confrontation with Yardz (Stormzy) was funny and heartbreaking at the same time. Prepared to face his fate and put everything on the line.

I was actually surprised at how good Stormzy’s cameo was. Not every music artist can deliver on the big screen. I mean I could write a list. We all could.

David Ajala left little to be desired as Detective Desmond ‘BUDS’ Lynch. I expected more from the Starred Up actor. Finally getting a meatier role. Only to be nothing more than a stocky copper.

The lines were terrible and his delivery didn’t make things any better. Especially when BUDS vowed justice against Daley. Laughable.

And that was part of the problem. For every good sequence, we had several poor ones. The plot was predictable. The middle act spluttered along which killed the pace.

Olivia Chenery’s (Penny Dreadful) subplot felt tacked on and wasn’t explored at all. Her character Sariya’s revenge mission was completely overshadowed by Sam’s melodrama that it felt unnecessary.

Sam’s reunion with an old foe should have been a tense affair. Thankfully, the frantic finale made up for the cliched exchanges and silly dialogue.

The quick-cut punch ups were fast and furious (Even if it was all a little hokey). However, despite all my nitpicking, I was pleased with the ending. It ticked all the boxes and wrapped everything up perfectly.

Clarke delivered a flawed BUT entertaining flick that was able to deliver some clever social commentary and cracking one liners; “Did you just say blud? What year you living in?”

It did the job, killed the time and was better than I expected.

3/5 (Just)

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THE GOOD LIE REVIEW

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A good film.

A group of Sudanese refugees are given the chance to resettle in Kansas City, Missouri, where their encounter with an employment agency counsellor (Reese Witherspoon) forever changes their lives.

A wonderful little film that is certainly worth your attention. I originally watched this on a flight to America. I had no idea what it was about. Only that it featured Reese Witherspoon. I never expected to be rewarded with such an endearing and heart breaking story.

The opening half hour was riveting. It grabbed me from the get go. We watch in horror as a group of Sudanese children have their peaceful, tranquil village destroyed by rebel forces during the Second Sudanese Civil War in 1983.

Homes burned down and families massacred within a matter of minutes. It certainly made for sombre viewing as the children are forced to flee and attempt the walk to Kenya. Truly moving and tense as the children strive to survive the heat, the rebel forces and each other.

One child Theo (Femi Oguns) makes the ultimate sacrifice by offering himself as a recruit to the rebels while his siblings hide in a field. I only mention this little detail because it becomes part of an ongoing search for Mamere (Arnold Oceng – Adulthood).

Mamere and three other siblings- Jeremiah (Ger Duany), Paul (Emmanuel Jal), and Abital (Kuoth Wiel) manage to reach safety in an Ethiopian refugee camp. They are forever known as The Lost Children. The film then skips forward to the early 2000s as the group are chosen to go to the United States.

Issues with social services soon throws a spanner in the works as the siblings are separated; the three men are sent to Kansas City while Abital is placed in Boston. The rest of the film follows the men as they struggle to adapt to their new lives in a different culture. As well as battling exposure to drugs and dangerous animals.

As soon as the three men meet their employment agency counsellor Carrie Davis, things take a lighter turn.

Reese Witherspoon (Wild) and the lads worked really well together. Their innocence and naivety may have been a little cliched. Come on, I’ve seen Cool Runnings and Million Dollar Arm but it still made for highly watchable viewing. The Lost Children still very much at heart as they try to adapt to television, drive-thrus and supermarkets.

Carrie’s stubbornness and initial reluctance to help may have been old hat but their relationship was still an endearing one. Witherspoon was very much in the background of this flick. Merely using her star profile to get some attention to this engaging story.

I don’t think people would even have given it a look in. A shame considering how poor films have been lately that this film only got a limited release.

The job scenarios made for interesting viewing. Mamere continues to appeal for Abital’s move as well as search for his lost brother. Jeremiah’s naivety and generosity inevitably causes issues with his job at the supermarket.

His confrontation with a manager after giving away expired food to the homeless really highlighted the ugly corporate greediness that the Lost Children have never seen before. All the man wanted to do was work with the church.

Paul earns a job at a factory after his natural talent for building things. However, it isn’t long before he falls into the wrong crowd and is introduced to drugs.

The pace did dip in parts and was a little slow burning but it still made for dramatic and uplifting viewing as the film drew to a close. Just when I started to feel a little fidgety, an interesting development involving Theo led to a suspenseful border patrol encounter as Mamere tries to bring him home.

I didn’t realise how the aftermath of 9/11 would make such an impact on the immigration laws. However after such a dramatic and tense scene. The film just ends. And quite abruptly. With just a few credits explaining what happened next.

I was a little disappointed. It would have been nice to see those little credit bits. Just to round off what had been an intriguing film.

Corey Stoll (The Strain) and Witherspoon’s meagre subplot suggested that something was going on between them but it never really went anywhere. Nor was it brought up for that matter. (Thinking back to it). It seemed like a desperate attempt to add a bit of depth to Witherspoon’s already rounded character. A bit sloppy.

The cast were fantastic. It made a change to see new or virtually unknown actors taking the meatier roles. An interesting fact that I only just discovered. Duany, Jal and Wiel were all children that survived the Second Sudanese Civil War.

God knows what it must have felt like to go through that experience again. Say what you will about whether they should have for a movie.

BUT despite it’s little flaws, I was pleasantly surprised and would recommend this to anyone who wants an endearing uplifting journey of one family’s struggle.

3.5/5