Youasf Ali Khan has produced a taught, painful insight into the psyche of a damaged Asian youth with courage and finesse. Tackling subject matter emotive as racial self loathing is brave enough, but Khan pushes the excellent cast to deliver powerful, disturbing performances. Darren Sheppard is superb as central character, Romo. Torn between his Pakistani heritage and surviving amongst racist surroundings, Romo is forced into terrible choices. Fear, guilt and hatred mix to tremendous effect in Sheppards performance as he waivers between victim and aggressor. The supporting cast are tremendous. Scarlett Liebenhals as Romo's young sister is a gem. George Russo and his band of skinheads are nasty, gnarly and frighteningly believable. Romo's alienation and misplaced allegiance is explored with candour, David Katznelson's photography adding a heightened quality to the already charged atmosphere. Largely shot in the shadow of London tower blocks, the streets are mean, but nothing compared to the broodiness of Rollo's workplace. A crux scene affords us a frightening glimpse at the social life of the BNP, a London club another triumph of bravura performance and design. Excellent period realization by Eve Stewart brings a gritty vitality that spits at you from the screen. From the troubling opening to the chilling conclusion Skin Deep will sicken and surprise you, remaining provocative to the last frame. Don't miss it.
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