Bobby (Kebbel) returns from his final tour of duty in Afghanistan with no plans for his life, although two separate groups make rather insistent offers. First there's the top thug (Thomas) on his grim South London estate, who requires him to join his gun-toting heavies. But Bobby instead wants to help the little brother (Ayemere) of his friend Fahad (Jeremiah), get out of the gang.
Meanwhile, government agents (Curran and Cox) ask him to help shut down a terrorist cell by contacting their rogue informant Alayna (Bielski). But all of this smells fishy.
Filmmaker Hope shoots this like a post-apocalyptic nightmare, in which present-day London looks like a terrifying dystopia where heavily armed goons shoot and stab each other on every street corner. Filmed on a condemned Elephant & Castle estate, it's a thoroughly unnerving atmosphere, as we feel the desperation in the air. We also vividly sense the tentacles of crime and low-life nastiness that are squeezing in on Bobby from every side. He clearly wants to do the right thing, but isn't given much of a choice.
Kebbell plays the character extremely effectively as a scruffy guy who has the brains and physical prowess to do these violent jobs, but feels emotionally shattered by his war-zone experiences. So he's a bundle of flippant intensity and hollow exhaustion. His interaction with everyone snaps with raw internal energy, especially scenes with Bielski, who's equally complex and enigmatic.
Brooke is solid as well as Bobby's old pal who clearly regrets getting his friend involved in all of this.
By contrast, Curran and Cox are required only to provide some effectively starry texture as "the man". And as things escalate, there's the sense that the filmmakers are kind of skating over some of the plot's implausibilities, never quite defining the events fully while offering some strongly preachy moments along the way to make sure we get the point. But at least the point is a resonant, important one. And Bobby's story is seriously unnerving.
Run time: 98 mins
In Theaters: Friday 29th April 2011
Distributed by: Revolver Entertainment
Production compaines: Local Films, Premiere Picture, Veteran Pictures, Media Pro One, DMK Productions, Iconiq Group
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 8
IMDB: 5.9 / 10
Director: Matthew Hope
Producer: Kim Leggatt, Debbie Shuter
Screenwriter: Robert Henry Craft, Matthew Hope, Adam Tysoe
Starring: Toby Kebbell as Miller, Brian Cox as Gerry, Tony Curran as Chris Turner, Ashley Bashy Thomas as Tyrone Jones, Tom Brooke as Danny Turner, Ivanno Jeremiah as Fahad Sahal, Mehmet Ferda as Hakeem, Selva Rasalingam as Fawwaz Abdullah, Conrad Peters as Khaled
Also starring: Mem Ferda
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