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<Movie Details

21st century Scum

16 November 2012 by Tim Evans

It's a bit surprising to report that one of this year's best British debuts comes from a team who played a key part in the production of geezer cliche-fests Anuvahood and Ill Manors.

This gratifyingly accomplished debut from director Ron Scalpello refreshes tired wideboy formula to produce a prison drama fired up with barely-suppressed rage.

Subverting the classic revenge premise, this follows the unwavering path of Tommy (Cole) as he discovers the whereabouts of the attackers of his pregnant girlfriend...and beats up a couple of coppers to ensure a youth sentence will put him within striking distance.

Via shrewd use of flashback, we see how the yobs - led by the charismatically vile Jake (a superbly threatening Frank Cobban) - beat the girl to a pulp when they work out she might have rumbled that they were involved in a fatal armed robbery on the night of the London riots.

When she loses her and Tommy's child, she walks out on the relationship, triggering a brutally focused payback from the desperate youngster who now has only one thing on mind.

A spare script and lean dialogue lend genuine power to the taciturn youngster's unswervable quest for justice, a single-minded obsession that results in some truly bone-crunching violence.

Outside Tommy's grim pre-occupation, the film also scores points for a positive attitude to Islam as embraced by some of the inmates as a valid route to decent lives and an unhysterical condemnation of a system terrifyingly represented by Shaun Dooley's greasily corrupt warder.

It's got it's flaws for sure...but there's a major talent at work here.