*NEW* BROTHERHOOD REVIEW *NEW*

brotherhood

#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)

Advertisements

STARRED UP REVIEW

starred-up-uk-poster

Scum, this ain’t san. A slow hard boiled film that doesn’t deserve to be locked up and is reprieved by an unexpected brutal climax and a very talented cast.

It’s great to see low budget British films like this getting recognized and put out on the cinema circuit. We follow the incredibly volatile Eric Love (Jack Connell) as he is transferred to an adult prison and ends up in the same wing as his old man, the even more explosive Neville Love (Ben Mendelsohn). Director David Mackenzie excels at providing a grim look at the prison system. What starts as a good opener as we go through the check in procedure (strip search, etc) at the prison soon meanders along, bordering on a Porridge parody. I mean once Eric walks through one walkway, we don’t need to see several. Connell is fantastic and gives a stellar performance. His character to start with is very unlikeable as he goes out of his way to make trouble. But through his bravado and dominance, you can’t stop watching him. And once he meets his father, a fantastically creepy Mendelsohn, we soon get a better insight into Eric and see why he is the way he is. The only problem Connell has always excelled at playing the hard man. You can only worry that he will be type cast but if he plays the part so well, does it matter.

Starred Up is gritty, violent, at times brutal but beneath that, Mackenzie does try and make a statement about young offenders and the inner workings of the prison, providing an all too realistic insight. This is demonstrated perfectly in the “anger management” class sessions led by posho volunteer Oliver (another stand out performance from Rupert Friend – Quinn from Homeland). His unique style and questionable motives make for good viewing as he desperately tries to help the offenders, a well acted bunch of British bandits; David Ajala, Anthony Welsh, David Avery, Ashley Chin and Gershwyn Eustache Jnr. This is where the film stood out from all the usual Scum spiel that has been ripped off endlessly. Eric’s erratic behaviour is crazy, at times brutal and at one point, hilarious. But once he flies off the handle, the more times he does it and effs and blinds with some (granted) memorable quotes, it gets irritating but that is the point. That is why he is here. The sessions allow us to see his vulnerability and makes for some great moments and banter as he bonds with the class.

As we delve deeper into the prison, you see that not even the powers that be are any better. Sam Spruell (The Hurt Locker) and Sian Breckin (recently featured in BBC’s Truckers) playing the shifty governors working and undoing Oliver’s work. However, where it excels in violence, testosterone, good characters and great acting, the film lacks in pace and stutters along. The hype helps draw attention but the first hour doesn’t justify it for me. However, the last half hour makes for crucial watching and redeems a film that was starting to lose my attention and questioned whether this should have been put on FilmFour as one of their TV movie premieres. However, it all seemed to be brewing up for one big climax (steady now) that is brilliantly done, compelling and endearing. All in all, a mixed bag but one of the better ones. The best prison film? Not for me san. But certainly not the worst. Mackenzie is definitely going to be one to watch for me now. 3.5/5

Currently ranks #48 out of 155!