Director: Reg Traviss (2015)
Illegal street art and armed robbery collide with no great interest in this poorly executed London thriller.
Just as the talent of a graffiti artist offers an escape from his sink-estate upbringing, his hard fought-for future is threatened when he’s dragged into brother’s criminal world.
Believing in the script far more than I did, the earnest cast give their all in this functional collection of uninspired confrontations, punctuated by woeful dialogue.
It has no views on contemporary Britain other than a concrete belief in the integrity of the street and keeping it real.
Neither slick and flash or gritty and hard-edged, it’s edited with energy but not enough control – too many scenes are padded out for no particular reason.
Meanwhile it’s shot through with whip-pans, fast-cuts and lots of shaky-cam – with the occasional slow-motion dropped in.
The soundtrack is loud, busy and contemporary, adding to the overall sense creative decisions were made on the basis of being cool – instead of serving the story.
Skilled and daring artist Dee (Gregg Sulkin) is on the cusp of international fame. He has a model girlfriend, a part-time job as courier and spends his evenings being chased by the police for defacing property with spray cans.
Meanwhile his step-brother Marcus (Josh Myers) is out robbing diamonds with his gang of axe wielding super-bike riders. Myers has a rough-edged lairy charm and a suitably imposing physique but is given the very worst of the dialogue.
They have a likeable chemistry; part brother, part father/son relationship.
When Marcus invests his big score in a drugs deal, he falls foul of the violent West Grove crew leaving him in debt to a feared firm and the target of hit-men. There’s also a police grass at large on the estate.
Dee is called on to help out among the welter of drugs, sex, shoot-outs, rapes and beatings, putting pressure on his fledgling career and on his relationship with girlfriend Kirsten (Meghan Markle).
His mother Nadine (Maria Fernadez Ache) is Spanish and spends her time stoned in her flat and is one of the many weakly written woman who suffer abuse in a variety of ways and are forgotten about by the end.
The unfortunate molls Emma and Tara (Sasha Frost and Sophie Colquhoun) take the worst of it. Only Rochelle (Caroline Ford) serves the story in any way and even her plot arc is left dangling as loose as her over-sized ear-rings.
Though more than one person dies, no-one learns anything or develops as a character. There may be a decent idea buried underneath the geezer posturing and street language the film-makers are overly-enamoured of, but it’s not worth persevering with to unearth it.