4.3/10
133
5 user 15 critic

The Plague (2006)

An adrenaline filled weekend of parties, drugs and violence seen through the eyes of four multicultural friends living in the melting pot that is London's inner-city estates.

Director:

Greg Hall

Writer:

Greg Hall
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1 win. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Credited cast:
Samuel Anoyke Samuel Anoyke ... Alex Parker
Nick Ash
David Bonnick Jr. David Bonnick Jr. ... Tom Williams (as David Bonnick Junior)
Adelaide Brava Adelaide Brava ... Vicky
Emily Brewer Emily Brewer
Mike Burnside Mike Burnside ... Officer 2
Lisa Cairns Lisa Cairns
Jake Campbell Jake Campbell
Richie Campbell ... Eddie
Christopher Chambers
Adrian Clargo Adrian Clargo
Matt Clift Matt Clift
Natalie Davies Natalie Davies
Nicola Davies Nicola Davies
Iain Davis Iain Davis ... Officer 4
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Storyline

An adrenaline filled weekend of parties, drugs and violence seen through the eyes of four multicultural friends living in the melting pot that is London's inner-city estates.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Welcome to the 21st Century

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 October 2006 (UK) See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP3,500 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Spun-off from Front (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brave and somewhat appealing tiny little British film that gets down and grubby with Blair's Britain.
21 December 2008 | by johnnyboyzSee all my reviews

I'm glad I enjoyed The Plague on the level I did and I think it's the sort of film that should be seen by more than the general audience it got when it was released, ie; not many. The film is one that rests on the bottom of the pyramid in terms of production values; budget; cast and experience from all involved, but that's not to say it isn't any good. The film carries that feel, that feel that it has been made by a fresh director whose CV is about as long as someone like Steven Spielberg's is short. There are the distinct looks and tones to the film in certain scenes, the film feels like it was made by two or maybe more people given the sporadic nature of plot and ultra neo-realism meshed together to form a moving image piece.

But it's all part of the charm and I got a kick out of The Plague, principally down to the theory it attempts to insert into itself and the general good intentions it has. The Plague is the sort of film in which if you leave your brain at the door, you'll be back along shortly to collect it again as you walk out but it doesn't have to be one of these 'in your face' low budget films that are a chore to sit through for the mainstream. The film is about a group of young boys in London, early 21st Century, who work at Jewson department stores; deal drugs; drive around; have the odd encounter with hostile unknowns and hang out with each other. The event that acts as a catalyst for all this to potentially fall apart is a robbery in a bank; a withdrawal of money from a card not owned by anyone present.

This is a film made for the audience featured within the film and this can only be a good thing. It's good because it gets a culture 'into' cinema, in particular, microscopic budgeted dramas made by unknowns and starring unknowns but pretty good all the same. If you can rope in the audience featured in the film into seeing this today, tomorrow they'll be watching other urban dramas like this one before hopefully expanding into a broader sense of cinema. If the audience can see themselves on screen driving around in cars, working in departments stores and having an obvious message for most of us that 'theft and drug dealing is wrong' then all the more for it, particularly if it'll expand their thinking.

The Plague is, I think, at its core a statement on Blair's Britain. I think director Greg Hall draws inspiration from other gritty, street shot films from yesteryear in the form of La Haine and Ladri di Biciclette in the sense he goes to ground level to shoot something he hopes many will see. Politically, La Haine was shot and deliberately set on its post Parisian riot streets and Ladri di biciclette shot and consequently set in post-war Italy, The Plague takes on issues bigger than most would initially give it credit for.

Let's look at the tagline for the film: 'Welcome to the 21st Century'. An expansive and absolute tagline, a statement or an announcement of matter of fact: You have arrived, Welcome to the 21st Century. The thing here is that it is 21st Century Britain and with such a tagline followed by such a film shot on the grimy and real estates of London is trying to say something. Furthermore, the immediate opening is of an animated globe before the camera whirls round to the United Kingdom itself; stopping and going in on it. Welcome to the 21st Century and welcome to Britain. This sort of idea is revisited in the immediate ending when the same animation strikes up again and the film ends overall on an image of Tony Blair inside a mock television set. This combined with various bits and pieces such as a poster exclaiming 'End UK involvement n Iraq' found within the film make for interesting material and an interesting study – so far, one of only a few British films I've seen that tackles 'Blairism'.

But is The Plague as good as the respective French and Italian films mentioned? Of course not. But it's still a good watch. There are some inventive camera shots such the one facing front from the back seat of a car and the Tarantino 'trunk shot' rip-off in the bag looking up at those peering in. Some of the scenes in the interrogation room following the theft are tense and uneasy and there is a strong feeling of foreboding to them. The film follows Blood, a black drug dealer; Ravi (Rahman), a boy fasting for his religion and Ben Gardner (Grant) amongst others creating the multicultural aura throughout that La Haine also had. Additionally, the scenes that break off to accommodate rapping feel like another direct link.

The overall narrative is loose and often, the characters will all talk over one another in a manner that doesn't feel as if it was deliberate but comes across as it might have been in that ambiguous sense. Additionally, the dialogue isn't really dialogue it's just talking, which makes the film come across as even more neo-realistic than it perhaps either meant to be or should be. Maybe it's the director trying to force some sort of artistic look onto his work. But there are scenes that work in the film and I enjoyed more times than I thought 'Yeah, that was rubbish' which is a good thing. That on top of the theory going on to do with Blair's Britain and how he's probably more concerned with Iraq than London estates is perfectly fine; all in all, a fair effort.


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