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 »
Out on parole after 8 years inside Bill Hayward returns home to find his now 11 and 15 year old sons abandoned by their mother and fending for themselves. Unwilling to play Dad, an uncaring... See full summary »
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 people he hurt the most. Some have moved on, others are stuck with the repercussions of his actions that night, but one thing's for certain - everyone has been forced to grow up. Through his journey Sam struggles to deal with his sorrow and guilt and something else he didn't expect - those seeking revenge. As he's pursued by a new generation of bad boys, Sam sets about trying to get the message across to his pursuers that they should stop the violence, much like Trife tried to tell him all those years ago. Can Sam stop the cycle of violence and make something positive from the destruction he caused or will his journey into Adulthood end here? Written by
Clarke returns with a lead role both on and behind the camera, as the lives of disparate young adults going through terrifying stages of anger, hatred and regret are studied.
Adulthood is Noel Clarke's companion piece to a 2006 film about the same characters operating under the canopy of secondary school, in what was a film named Kidulthood. Here, the characters have grown up; some only in a sense of physicality as their putrid, misogynistic and crime-ridden mental side remains, the veering down of separate routes a result of this when separate lines of employment; university studies and criminal activity occupy most of their lives. At its core is the premise to a situation people of both this ilk and age group need to observe, that being that a young man has to come to terms with what he was like prior to a tragic event and realising prior attitudes towards his own masculinity and outlook on power were incorrect as he enters a new existence. The film veers away from its precursor in the sense it adheres more to a set strand or story arc, shifting away from generalisations or archetypal youngsters supposedly typical of contemporary British youth, and more into plot; story or a character with an stance on a situation with which he takes issue, instigates an action and thus causes narrative.
If Clarke comes up with any more films in the overall series as the characters grow further still and maintain the disturbing misadventures they have, the franchise as a whole will surely come to resemble Michael Apted's Up series by way of the genre makeup of something like The Godfather. In Adulthood, a supporting act from the first film in Clarke's own character Sam is taken and placed at the forefront; a stretch in prison for an event which would spoil the first film having changed him and caused his outlook to shift. The film unfolds in a world in which assaults and crimes occur on somewhat busy public streets, but locales in which nobody ever seems entirely bothered by these events unfolding, creating an effectively distorted, dystopian feel to proceedings in the London this unfolds in. It retains that multi stranded approach Kidulthood adopted, rather than putting across that sense of these people just existing within this messed up; hostile; concrete world of crime and sleaze, Adulthood covers the tales of a man having to fit back into society and rebuild decrepit relations and avoid others wanting revenge on this same man for whom he killed during the climax of Kidulthood.
A sense of neo realism is lost, substituted for causality and reactions born out of actions; but the detraction is minimal and there's enough here to recommend the film as a decent piece of work. Adulthood refreshingly fleshes out both parties stuck in this battle for blood, revenge and peace, on one strand outlining the potential victim as this sore and regretful figure; one on the other, outlining how easy it is to become reconnected to old habits and former acquaintances of whom you want nothing to do with, as respectful university student Moony (Oyeniran) clashes face to face with his buddy Jay (Deacon) about the notion of revenge and the criminality that drags with it in tow. On a third interconnected strand, a young skinhead named Dabs (Drew) shows disturbing promise as a criminal also charged with finding and killing Sam for a fee; something which goes against what his own teenage thug cohorts think on the matter.
It is Clarke's character Sam whom returns and takes the reigns of the protagonist, a man now with experiences of prison after having previously thought himself to already be of that ilk. Bullying those weaker than yourself; maintaining a sordid relationship with a member of the opposite sex and existing to cause grief and terror were the run of the mill in a previous incarnation, something that got him to jail and meetings with those he no doubt saw himself as becoming had he not changed his ways. His chief confidant is a former girlfriend whom was never anything more than a sexual stress release in Lexi (Johnson), with whom he's able to share a common bond as they exist on a similar plateau of both being victims of their own ill-conceived or naive attitudes towards the sorts of company they kept, and their attitudes towards these people. The link is made apparent as they only threaten to become intimate, and they share a moment in which memories of past negative experiences become too strong.
For Lexi, the past link to sex addict Becky from the first film saw her become the victim of a rape, although the charges against the perpetrators were dropped because of Becky as consistent company. In Sam, the physical suffering in prison at the hands of a relative of the boy he killed at the end of Kidulthood, as he's cut and abused with a metal stake, is observed. Rather than draw on daft parallels as to which event is any less demeaning or traumatic for the victim, or indeed even link the events in a case of physical similarity, the study is more preoccupied with these happenings as a catalyst for maturity in the individual, a forcing them into thinking what their identity or personality is and the sorts of company they feel they should keep. The film isn't as good as its 2006 counterpart, but offers a taut and similarly uncompromising documentation of a handful of characters. An eye is kept on the main goal of demonisation, in that one sequence sees Clarke provide us with an early split screen documentation outlining two different scenarios for separate youths. One is Sam's writing around on the street having suffered a beating at the hands of a partner of a girl he knew years ago, an event the ultimate result of what he did in the past, in stark contrast to that of Moony taking notes in a law lecture at university. The idea and message is clear, one that the film explores interestingly and engagingly enough so as to not feel like a lecture.
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