My Brother the Devil

"Excellent"

My Brother the Devil Review


Sharply well-observed, this punchy British drama is packed with rising-star talent, including its gifted first-time writer-director, an engaging young cast and skilled cinematographer David Raedeker. The film also daringly tackles hot potato issues without ever getting preachy about them: this is an intimate, deeply involving story that can't help but make us think.

It's set in Hackney, where the British-born Mo (Elsayed) lives with his Egyptian parents. Mo is a sharp kid who has just finished his exams and has a bright future, but he idolises his cool big brother Rash (Floyd) and wants to join his drug gang. To protect Mo, Rash quits the gang and takes a proper job as assistant to a French-Arabic photographer (Taghmaoui). But when Mo discovers that Rash might be gay, he freaks out, offering to run drugs for the gang leader (Hamdouchi) and letting everyone think that Rash is actually a terrorist.

Instead of the usual urban London melodrama, this story is told through the relationships, which makes it hugely involving right from the start. This also lets the actors shine with transparent, honest performances that draw out the complexity in every situation. At the centre, Floyd creates wonderful textures in his protective interaction with the expressive, likeable Elfayed. As things begin to shift, their reactions are gripping. And this extends to scenes with side characters like Rash's best pal Izzi (Welsh) and Mo's tentative girlfriend Aisha (Wright).

All of this is held together skilfully by writer-director Hosaini, who gives the film a relaxed, realistic tone from the start, drawing out the often jarring realities of family relationships. It's beautifully shot, although the editing is a little choppy, letting things occasionally feel overwrought as Hosaini focusses more on the violent tension than the more engaging romantic undercurrents. But by bravely exploring terrorism and sexuality in a Muslim setting, she says some very important things about British society. And she also offers some hope for those trying to break the cycle of criminality.

Rich Cline



My Brother the Devil

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 111 mins

In Theaters: Friday 9th November 2012

Box Office USA: $10.3k

Distributed by: Paladin

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Fresh: 40 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Sally El Hosaini

Producer: Julia Godzinskaya, Gayle Griffiths, Michael Sackler

Starring: as Rashid, Fady Elsayed as Mo, as Sayyid, Aymen Hamdouchi as Repo, Ashley Bashy Thomas as Lenny, Anthony Welsh as Izzi, Arnold Oceng as Aj, Letitia Wright as Aisha, Amira Ghazalla as Hanan, Elarica Gallacher as Vanessa, as Abdul-Aziz

Also starring:


Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Amy Movie Review

Amy Movie Review

As with his Formula One documentary Senna, filmmaker Asaf Kapadia cleverly uses archival footage to...

Terminator Genisys Movie Review

Terminator Genisys Movie Review

This declining franchise really needed a jolt to the head, but the producers disappointingly opt...

Magic Mike XXL Movie Review

Magic Mike XXL Movie Review

Resisting the temptation to capitalise on the camp value of these characters, Channing Tatum and...

She's Funny That Way Movie Review

She's Funny That Way Movie Review

Wacky enough to make us smile but never laugh out loud, this screwball comedy harks...

Advertisement
Everly Movie Review

Everly Movie Review

A relentless onslaught of violent action, this movie is notable mainly because there's a woman...

Slow West Movie Review

Slow West Movie Review

First-time feature filmmaker John Maclean takes a strikingly original approach to the Western, creating a...

Mr. Holmes Movie Review

Mr. Holmes Movie Review

Despite this being a film about Sherlock Holmes, the fact that it's not much of...

Entourage Movie Review

Entourage Movie Review

Both shameless and shamelessly entertaining, this relentlessly boyish movie carries on exactly as the TV...

Advertisement