Shifty, a young crack cocaine dealer in London, sees his life quickly spiral out of control when his best friend returns home. Stalked by a customer desperate to score at all costs, and ... See full summary »

Director:

Writer:

Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Ill Manors (2012)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The lives of four drug dealers, one user and two prostitutes.

Director: Plan B
Stars: Riz Ahmed, Ed Skrein, Lee Allen
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Desperate to evade an angry pimp, a London prostitute and a young girl flee by train to Brighton after an appointment with a powerful client goes violently wrong.

Director: Paul Andrew Williams
Stars: Lorraine Stanley, Georgia Groome, Johnny Harris
Bullet Boy (2004)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In one of East London's most volatile neighborhoods, pride, rivalry and revenge are the only codes on the street. Touted as a British Boyz in the Hood, Bullet Boy is a gripping and ... See full summary »

Director: Saul Dibb
Stars: Ashley Walters, Luke Fraser, Leon Black
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

When a notorious criminal is forced to return to London, it gives a detective one last chance to take down the man he's always been after.

Director: Eran Creevy
Stars: James McAvoy, Mark Strong, Andrea Riseborough
Four Lions (2010)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Four incompetent British jihadists set out to train for and commit an act of terror.

Director: Christopher Morris
Stars: Will Adamsdale, Riz Ahmed, Adeel Akhtar
Kidulthood (2006)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A day in the life of a group of troubled 15-year-olds growing up in west London.

Director: Menhaj Huda
Stars: Aml Ameen, Red Madrell, Noel Clarke
Adulthood (2008)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Six years after KiDULTHOOD, Sam Peel is released from jail for killing Trife, he realizes that life is no easier on the outside than it was on the inside and he's forced to confront the ... See full summary »

Director: Noel Clarke
Stars: Noel Clarke, Scarlett Alice Johnson, Adam Deacon
Crime | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An insight on the gritty life of a bored male, Chelsea football hooligan who lives for violence, sex, drugs & alcohol.

Director: Nick Love
Stars: Danny Dyer, Frank Harper, Tamer Hassan
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Harold, a prosperous English gangster, is about to close a lucrative new deal when bombs start showing up in very inconvenient places. A mysterious syndicate is trying to muscle in on his ... See full summary »

Director: John Mackenzie
Stars: Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren, Paul Freeman
Top Boy (TV Series 2011)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A thriving but underground drugs business is being run by Dushane ('Ashley Walters') and his friend Sully (Kane Robinson) to become the richest men on the block. To live rich Dushane and ... See full summary »

Stars: Ashley Walters, Kane Robinson, Shone Romulus
Croupier (1998)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An aspiring writer is hired as a croupier at a casino, where he realizes that his life as a croupier would make a great novel.

Director: Mike Hodges
Stars: Clive Owen, Nick Reding, Nicholas Ball
Anuvahood (2011)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Kenneth (who likes to call himself Kay) begins to realise he's just another wannabe bad boy... even less than a loser in fact. After quitting his job at Laimsbury's, Kay vows to become a ... See full summary »

Directors: Adam Deacon, Daniel Toland
Stars: Adam Deacon, Femi Oyeniran, Ollie Barbieri
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Rez
Jay Simpson ...
Dannielle Brent ...
...
...
...
...
Rory Jennings ...
Courtney Day ...
Gracie Fitch ...
Nathaniel Gleed ...
Freddie Palmer
Eddie Webber ...
Edit

Storyline

Shifty, a young crack cocaine dealer in London, sees his life quickly spiral out of control when his best friend returns home. Stalked by a customer desperate to score at all costs, and with his family about to turn their back on him for good, Shifty must out-run and out-smart a rival drug dealer, intent on setting him up for a big fall. As his long time friend Chris, confronts the dark past he left behind him, Shifty is forced to face up to the violent future he's hurtling towards. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

24 hours to deal yourself out

Genres:

Thriller

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

| |  »

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 April 2009 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Shifty - Uma História Urbana  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (European Film Market)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Daniel Mays play private Walker in the New Dad's Army film that was filmed Bridlington East Yorkshire. See more »

Goofs

When Trevor is discussing the holiday hire car with his wife, the boom microphone is clearly visible in the reflection of the glass cabinet above her head. See more »

Connections

References 24 Hour Party People (2002) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Take a shufty at Shifty
20 April 2009 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Shifty is being hailed in some quarters as an early contender for best British film of 2009 - a double-edged blessing for any debut, which can rarely hope to live up to the hype, however well intentioned. Shifty isn't the second coming, the one true saviour of UK independent cinema. But it's a very decent little crime thriller, with a lot of heart, that deserves more than a couple of weeks at the repertory before being marooned on DVD.

Chris (Daniel Mays) returns from Manchester to the (fictional) outer London suburb of Dudlowe after four years in white-collared exile. To his surprise, he discovers his old school mate Shifty (Riz Ahmed), the "smart kid in class, four A-levels", has since transformed from a part-time weed merchant into a full blown crack dealer.

Over the next 24 hours, the country mouse accompanies the town mouse on his rounds, supplying everyone from middle-class hippies to dead eyed kids, while being stalked by an increasingly agitated Trevor (Jay Simpson), a broken family man prepared to take his next fix by any means necessary. (Shifty must be selling some uncommonly good gear.) Meanwhile his brother Rez (Nitin Ganatra) is about to kick him out of his house, and double-crossing supplier Glen (Jason Flemyng) is setting him up for a fall. Can Chris convince Shifty to abandon his life at the crack face before he comes a cropper?

'Shifty' sounds like an ITV comedy drama from the late 1960s or early 1970s, no doubt starring Hywel Bennett or Adam Faith as its eponymous lovable rogue; up to no good, but more victim than predator - and that's pretty much the case here. An ocean away from The Wire's corner boys, Baltimore's tooled-up foot soldiers marinated in murder, Shifty's scrappy pushers embody a familiar kind of hapless Englishness; the sort who might shut up shop for a day, owing to the wrong kind of snow on the road. Yet for all its lively banter ("I can't believe you just sold crack to Miss Marple and struck a deal with Blazin' Squad") the film is no quirky apologia for crime. This is the pedestrian reality of drug abuse: people hurting themselves in small rooms.

All the cast are terrific, playing real three-dimensional characters, but actor-musician Riz Ahmed is standout as the titular live wire, utterly nailing the dealer's temporal mindset. He might look as if he's physically occupying a scene, but he's not really there at all - his eyes tell us he's already on the next page, a parasitic tick, eternally leaping from host to host.

Writer-director Eran Creevy drew his inspiration from a former school friend, an A-grade pupil who discovered he could make more money in the real world by dealing drugs. Not for Shifty being "stuck in a warehouse, knocking out dodgy Fruit Of The Loom". Had things worked out differently, we can easily imagine him popping up on 'The Apprentice', back-chatting Sir Alan.

Creevy eschews the woozy, art-house ambiance of Duane Hopkins' Better Things - another portrait of a drug-decimated community - for naturalistic dialogue and performances within carefully framed and composed shots; properly cinematic, grown-up direction. Though we never get the impression we're watching a wildly original cinematic voice, it's refreshing to encounter a film featuring gritty, 'urban' subject matter that hasn't been shot with a hyperventilating DV camera.

This relative stillness and subtlety gives rise to moments of exceptional power. During one scene, Shifty delivers to posh, pensionable hippie Valerie (Francesca Annis), in a grimy council flat littered with Moroccan tat and dead, stiff cats. It is safe to assume this is a long way from where she imagined she was going to end up. After everybody has had a nice cup of tea, Chris and Shifty hunch embarrassedly on the opposite sofa in silence, while Valerie gratefully sucks on the pipe, gently collapsing back into her chair, as muffled, moronic techno from the flat upstairs leaks through the ceiling into the room.

Such damn fine film-making reflects well on Shifty's sponsor, the Microwave project, which gives aspiring UK indie filmmakers a chance, a mentor, and some money to help realise their dreams. The catch: they have to turn their movie around in just 18 days on a budget of £100,000. While everyone, from caterers to star actors are paid the same, inducing a more democratic vibe on set. Heathrow horror Mum & Dad, released on Boxing Day 2008, was the first film to be made under the scheme. Shifty is the second. There are eight more to come.


34 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?