Despite a fairly miserable showing at the box office 2006’s Kidulthood has spawned a sequel. Like its predecessor Adulthood’s London-centric depiction of inner-city struggles won’t speak as immediately to a Scottish audience but it’s still a compelling enough example of young British filmmaking with a social conscience.
Essentially a vanity project for returning star/director/writer Noel Clarke (best known as Billie Piper’s boyfriend in Doctor Who), Adulthood continues to follow the trajectory of Sam, the troubled toughie who went to prison for murder at the end of the first film. Six years on and in his first 24 hours of freedom Sam resolves to grow up, only to discover that real life is rather more complicated than he had hoped. Clarke’s ear for street slang coupled with his uncompromising portrayal of contemporary youth (grimy sex and casual violence abound) give the film an authentic feel, while a tight structure and some neat visual tricks ensure that Adulthood is always engaging. The story encompasses too many characters to do them all justice, and an inappropriate Hollywood-style showdown mars the conclusion, but as a calling card for Clarke’s many talents Adulthood is undeniably impressive. Whether Adulthood needed to be made at all is a different matter altogether.
Selected release from Fri 20 Jun.