Gurning machismo rules the streets of London (yet again!) in this time-shifting gangster yarn that's entirely lacking in soul
Men. Guns. Knives. Shouting. Screaming. Swearing. Sex. Driving around London. Running around London. Duffing people up. Underground carparks. Some more underground carparks. Yet more underground carparks. Swearing. Stabbing. Shouting. FIN.
It's surprising to see that this slack and slight gangland noir has made it onto our cinema screens, as it probably would've been judged with far more leniency were it seen on the TV through semi-drunken eyes on a quiet Sunday evening.
Mark Womack, last seen as the scowling star of Ken Loach's Route Irish, plays a shouty gangster named Joseph with a very short temper and a strange fixation for ad-hoc games of Russian Roulette. He forces two men out on to the nighttime streets, each with a lo-fi tracing device and the sole instruction to kill the other. One, Drake (Kenny Doughty) is a slimy city boy, while the other, Issac (Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson) is a ordinary Scandinavian Joe who happens to be a dab hand with a shooter. It's rather hard to know who to root for…
Though the film looks and feels like a very ordinary cheapjack thriller that's been padded out with prolonged chase sequences and burdened with a thudding tribal tecnho soundtrack, you have to admit that its flashback-driven, multi-perspective narrative does actually work in a clever-clever Guy Ritchie sort of way. Which is something…
However, plotting has taken total precedence here, and this is at the expense of any characters worth caring about and any attempt to make any statement about, say, the nature of revenge or the emotional despair that would come from being forced to kill someone. Still, if you like shouting and underground carparks, this one could be for you.
Another week, another British gangster film. Only this one has three directors!
Its brevity is its saving grace.
The narrative switchbacks have been executed well enough, though it feels like soulless technical exercise rather than human story.