On the surface, one expects My Brother The Devil to be yet another East London gang-banger affair, with the typical callous romanticising of violence and thuggery. In fact this film proves to be much, much more than that. With superb central performances, dynamic characters and decent cinematography, My Brother The Devil doesn’t quite do enough to be brilliant, but it certainly is an outstanding piece of British cinema.
Ash loves music and his tunes are brilliant (who knew bhangra drum and bass had such a large following). He dreams of one day breaking away from his oppressively traditional parents and DJing to massive crowds. His friends are all first generation British Asians and each are facing difficulty in juggling the two lifestyles they lead.
First there was Kidulthood, then there was Adulthood, now there’s Anuvahood. With original writer/director Noel Clarke having absolutely nothing to do with this one it’s up to Kidulthood co-star Adam Deacon to assume the role of writer/director and somehow turn the middling urban drama into comedy gold.
When the film Adulthood was released in UK cinemas in June 2008, its opening weekend grossed more money than the freshly released Sex and the City. In the wake of its success, a spate of new and gritty urban films has been drawing audiences to cinemas in increasing numbers, with films such as Shank and Dead Man Running bringing new vigor to the UK film industry. Despite their success, though, the issue of black representation is never far away. With a panel debate titled “The New Blaxploitation?” taking place as a part of London’s Across the Street, Around the World festival, Best For Film went to investigate.
The weight of public expectation can be a heavy burden – it can cripple even the strongest men. In 2006, Noel Clarke wrote and starred in Kidulthood. His gritty portrait of disenfranchised youth culture raised eyebrows and two years later, he wrote, directed and starred in the sequel, Adulthood. The continuation of his emotionally damaged characters was a wake up call to the UK box office, taking an impressive £1.2 million in its opening weekend. Cinemas hurriedly arranged additional screenings and Clarke accepted his newly-minted reputation as the bright young thing of home-grown cinema. There were obvious concerns that he was a one-trick pony. Thankfully not.
Back to the gritty, urban milieu of earlier films such as Get Carter, Michael Caine delivers an uncompromising and sympathetic performance in Harry Brown, a dark and violent revenge thriller. But where the performances stand out, some of the politics in the film fare less well. Read on to find out what we thought of Michael Caine blowing off more than just doors.
Films set in UK inner cities, addressing teenage gang violence, have grown in number over the past 5 years. The surge of these films surrounding youths involved in drugs, guns, knives and everything in between is rising. The actual purpose of films like these remains unclear, are they there to shock us? Are they made to try and deter young people from choosing certain paths in life? Or are they there to simply emulate society and highlight what’s going on?