Performed by Swami
Written by Diamond Duggal & Casey Rain (as S-Endz)
Courtesy of DesiRock/Cigale Entertainment See more »
The odd good aspect is squandered by a badly uneven tone that means the film doesn't work
The week running up to Halloween in a rundown Leeds estate sees Mischief Night looming as a time when everyone can get into harmless bad behaviour. However on the estate bad behaviour is a constant state ranging from the anti-social actions to children to the violent rule of drug dealers. On either side of the segregated estate, two families live out their week against the constant stress of conflict and day-to-day living.
The title and the opening credits suggested that this film would be sort of East is East comedy affair y'know, based on a serious drama plot but with a genial air to it. That this was not to be the case is not the problem though and I didn't wander into the film expecting it to be what I had assumed and criticising it for being something else. I say this because there is a problem with what the film is and I don't want you to think that my opinions stems from me assuming it was something it was not. The problem is that it never really decides what it wants to do and tries to have comedy, drama, tragedy, relationship strife, drugs, paedophilia and general crime. That it tries to cover all this is an ambition that I won't criticise for no reason but it is a hard task to pull off and in this case the failure to make it work leaves a disjointed and uneven film that at times is really good and at others just doesn't work in any way.
To her credit Penny Woolcock seems to be trying to capture life on the estate with ups and downs of all extremes and, as a Wire fan I'm fine with something that has a bit of depth and mixes all the emotions of real life. Thing is, she cannot make it work and the end result is something that has a comic tone when the subject matter is serious and it just doesn't blend the way she would like it to. This makes it feel really odd and uneven and prevented me caring about what was happening because it didn't seem real not because I didn't buy the base world of the estate (these places are in all cities) or the extremes of the week (it is part of narrative convenience to condense things) but mainly because Woolcock's comic air takes away from the realism that she should have injected. The ending is where all this collapses in on itself I'll not do anything to spoil it but it is undeservedly pat for what it is.
I'm not sure where the problems come from. As writer and director one has to assume that it is all down to Woolcock for creating something that doesn't function but I do wonder if someone has taken her in hand and tried to shift her vision into something else. I'm being generous to suggest this as I have no basis, but the unsuccessful blend of styles does feel like a dramatic film that has been spread into a comedy with lots of music and bright colours into the cinematography. I'm not sure but wherever it came from, it is here and it jus doesn't fly. A shame really because at times it is an interesting film but for the vast majority it just doesn't.
The cast are lumbered with this but mostly they do OK despite the characters handed to them to carry off. Nobody was bad, but some struggled to make their characters work and ended up just going with the weird flow around them. So, what does that leave Mischief Night as? Well it is a mix between Kidulthood, Adulthood and East is East with a bit more comedy thrown in. The blend is difficult to pull off and Woolcock cannot manage to make it happen, leaving a film that is serious but never lets you take it seriously while also being a comedy that never makes you laugh all reliant on a character-driven narrative where you're never really with the characters. Has its moments but doesn't make anything of them.
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