Ill Manors


Directed by Ben Drew – Written by Ben Drew

Starring: Riz Ahmed, Ed Skrein, Natalie Press, Anouska Mond and Mem Ferda

It’s always nice to see a British film, even if a lot tend to be like this one at the moment.

This most recent instalment comes from writer / director Ben Drew, better known as Plan B. I’ve been trying to think of what this reminds me of since I finished watching it and it has just come to me, ‘Pulp Fiction’ (1994). We’re given these separate stories of various people that overlap and affect each other as they go.

Drew himself offers what can only be described as a rapping narrator for this film, with each character getting their own rap performed by the director himself. It does offer a layer you won’t find in other films, but like most narration it gets on your nerves on a bit.

Like the other urban drama films before, this the story is very brutal; murder, prostitution, the usual lot will be found. Where this is different is in the attempt to explore reasons rather than just providing a shock. Drew delves in to what this violence is about, and why people are joining gangs, and why this problematic sub-culture has risen in central London before spreading out over the country.

Riz Ahmed deserves a mention for playing the lead role Aaron, an outstanding performance that does steal the show a little from the rest. Although, satisfying performances are put in all round by the cast. A lot of unknown actors were brought in from East London, where the film is set, to bring a real sense of authenticity.

Not uncommon with virgin writers though, Drew has attempted to fit too much in to his film. Focusing on eight core characters just means they each get less time put in to them and the result is you feel a longer film is needed, despite a 121 minute running time.

Another slight problem is that this type of film tends to swing too much over in the spectrum and makes everything out to be grim and nothing else. Working class life is a lot more complex than that and should be treated as such.

Budget, £100,000. Be impressed.


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