- James Mottram
- 11 May 2012
A jarring, grimy and a searing indictment of Broken Britain, from debut director Ben Drew aka Plan B
To say Ill Manors doesn’t pull punches is like saying Mike Tyson hits quite hard. Raw, uncompromising and brutal, this urban tale of violence, prostitution and drugs smacks you round the face, then kicks you in the groin for good measure. It marks the directorial debut of Ben Drew – aka hip-hop artist Plan B – and makes Noel Clarke’s Adulthood look like a playground punch-up.
Anger aside, Drew’s also ambitious, cinematically, not least when he intervenes on the soundtrack to rap about a character’s backstory (the visuals matching his words in a dazzling blur of images). Interweaving six storylines, all set around London’s Forest Gate, Ill Manors might be considered a hoodie Magnolia, with its tales of revenge and redemption.
Riz Ahmed is the most recognisable face, and is on fine form as the moral compass of the film – a small-time dealer who must care for a baby (abandoned by Natalie Press’ East European call girl). Drew draws great performances from the lesser-known cast too, yet takes great care to examine the reasons behind these wayward characters’ lives. Jarring, grimy and a searing indictment of Broken Britain.
General release from Wed 6 June.