Shifty (2008) Poster

(2008)

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Engaging and well made drama/thriller
bob the moo21 February 2010
Shifty is a young drug dealer living with his older brother and earning a couple of grand a week. When an old friend comes to stay with him and asks him to come back up to Manchester to a safer, cleaner life, it marks the start of a rough day for Shifty, as his normal drop-offs are complicated by one customer who goes off the rails, and a rumour that has made it back to Shifty's supplier that he is cutting the product and selling for himself on the side.

Made for as little as £100k (which would not even buy you a one-second Megan Fox pout) this film is to be admired for how good it looks considering the constraints of the budget. However if praise was given out to independent films made for no money then there would not be enough to go around as there are plenty of similar attempts – just many of them really do show the lack of resource in all areas. It is not the case with Shifty because the film is an effective and well made affair that engages by virtue of how it is put together. The story is reasonably straightforward but it is written with a wider story behind it – one that we perhaps don't get all of but one that impacts onto the characters and their relationships and makes for a stronger character set and a more interesting film. I was interested in both Shifty and Chris as people as well as the grubby little world they inhabit.

On top of this the day in question also has some violent risks for Shifty and these add a semi-thriller touch to the story. Again, this isn't totally fleshed out all for the viewer to see but it works as it goes. It isn't perfect as a story but it does well to juggle a couple of different characters to add to the flow of the narrative while also avoiding being judgemental about any of them – your conclusion may be "drugs are bad m'kay" but the film does not seem to have that as an agenda but is just focused on telling the story.

The cast deserve credit for working on such a low budget film; OK they are not Hollywood stars used to commanding millions but there are several faces that will be recognisable from big films. The star of the film is Riz Ahmed, who does well for once not playing someone associated with 9/11 films. He is a likable character but he also conveys that edge of toughness and threat that he needs. He does good work with his face and eyes to ensure the viewer can sort of appreciate his thoughts without them being rammed down your throat. Mays has less of a showy role but he does the same – hits the character well and makes him convincing from the start and throughout, only weakening a little bit towards the end when I expected him to convey the impact of events a little better. Flemyng is a solid presence and a good face to help the film, while Simpson's Trevor is a tragic figure and he plays it well, making him a real person rather than a simple plot device to be either pitied or hated.

Shifty is not a brilliant film to be sure, it is far to slight for that but it is a particularly good one. It isn't social realism but it has an authenticity to it that helps make it work, with the well written and performed characters providing a strong base for the narrative to be built on. If it had cost ten times as much to make I still would have liked it but that it was made for so little is an impressive thing of note.
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8/10
Darkness On The Edge Of Town
GrahamEngland11 October 2009
While a subject that is quite familiar to low budget UK films, 'Shifty' is better than most.

The tiny budget may have made too much flashiness impossible, the film is all the better for it. Since it gives a more realistic touch and lets the characters develop.

The film does was it sets out to do well, 24 hours in the life of a drug dealer (who unlike the usual stereotype had choices due to his good education and once supportive family). His limited world is upturned by an old friend returning to town after 4 years, after an event, not revealed until late in the film, though he has plenty of other problems looming.

Well shot, good characters, good script and it kept me interested from start to finish with some very good moments within a tight narrative.

Plenty of similar films in this genre deliver less than they promise, 'Shifty' on the other hand, to quote a well known advert in the UK 'Does What It Says On The Tin'. And does it very well. Recommended.
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8/10
Take a shufty at Shifty
Ali_John_Catterall20 April 2009
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.
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A small budget film that shines.
mgould2310 October 2011
It is hard to believe they made this film for £100k. I wasn't expecting it to be great, but it was far better than I expected. I liked the two main characters Shifty and Chris and the whole ensemble were very good.

Riz Ahmed and Daniel Mays are both very good actors, I had seen a fine performance by Daniel Mays in Mike Leigh's 'All or Nothing' but it was the first time I had seen Riz. Although they aren't really well known outside TV and smaller budget stuff, both these actors are going to be big names in the future. I have great regard for all the actors who appear in Mike Leigh films and Daniel Mays will be up there with Tim Spall, Jim Broadbent, Stephen Rea, Phil Davis to name a few.

It is a fairly simple story of a drug dealer who runs into big trouble, it is a good portrait of the seedy world of drugs and the horrors they bring. Although very different, I would recommend this film to anyone who liked 'Sexy Beast' 'Dead Man's Shoes'.

They did a brilliant job with £100k.
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8/10
Excellent ...
colin_coyne23 April 2009
Considering that this was the Writer / Director's (Eran Creevy) first feature film (previously he had made several music videos and adverts), and that it had been shot in 18 days on a budget of just £100K, this was a really rather good film.

The actors were very competent, especially Riz Ahmed (as Shifty), Daniel Mays (as Chris) and Jason Flemyng (as Glen) who were all very believable in their roles, the narrative moved along nicely, and there were enough twists and turns (especially at the end) to keep everyone interested in the plot – and to what was happening to the characters.

The action revolves around two school friends that had lost touch and had just met up again after four years … one of them becoming increasingly involved in drug dealing … much to his friends dismay.

Apparently the tale was based on the tale of a boyhood friend of the directors – which heavily influenced the writing and the ambiance of the film … this may well have had a bearing on the Director's feel for the story – and "getting it right" – this passion certainly shone through with regards to the subject matter – and the atmosphere of the finished film.

An added bonus (as this was an early preview screening) was that the Director (Eran Creevy) and one of the main cast members (Jason Flemyng – Snatch, Transporter 2, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, etc.) were on hand for a Q&A session with the audience after the film – which was most welcomed and went down very well.

It may have been the directors first film – but it certainly won't be his last
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9/10
Loved It
christinegupreet6 December 2011
Another perfect example of how a film - regardless of it's budget can still be hugely effective if the story is told well. It's a pretty simple tale about a guy called Chris returning home to the town that he left behind, still tormented by the guilt that drove him away. His best friend Shifty has chosen a potentially destructive life path, and over the course of the day they attempt to re connect and face up to their problems, both past and present. Both Daniel Mays and Riz Ahmed are astonishingly good in this film. The subtlety of their relationship is believable and they really make you care about them. Jason Flemyng is suitably gruff as the local hood, and it's here that Chris has the chance to prove his loyalty to Shifty, where he once failed. Clearly shot on the cheap, this is one of the best British films I have seen in the past few years. Will be keeping an eye on all involved.
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8/10
Small-town and out
GameAndWatch13 October 2013
I'm pretty bored of gritty drug dramas, but thankful that I didn't pass this one up.

In short the film follows the day in the life of a dealer: Shifty and his best friend Chris.

Chris left Shifty high and dry and made a break for Manchester after a tragic event. And the beginning of the film sees his return to make reparations with his old friend. Chris used to be a dealer but is slowly building a future for himself. Shifty sells drugs. He earns plenty of money and is a slave to the job - but he's not living a champagne lifestyle or snorting his wares. Instead he's living a meagre existence. Travelling by foot to do drops and living with his brother Rez - under the pretence that he's a little lost and hopeless - which is wearing a little thin on his close family.

In the following 24 hours, Chris tags alongside Shifty. Chris is witness to a pick up, some drops and the desperation of addiction while walking his old haunts. He advices Shifty to get out while he can. Both Chris and Shifty have some unresolved issues but their bondage triumphs. We see the scars, torment and betrayal wrought from both dealers and users, especially to those closest to them.

The film is neither overtly violent, nor does it glorify drug use, or drug careers. Quite the opposite. There's a few small laughs thrown in. It is not a laugh a minute like Adam and Paul, Trainspotting or Pulp Fiction. It is however a little uncomfortable to watch, mainly because it's depressingly familiar. I found myself wishing the characters out of their dead end and empty lives.

Sadly I couldn't find any love in my heart for Shifty, wanting to see some morsel of remorse for his crimes. On the other hand Chris I forgave early on. Both Chris and Rez were both likable.

I can't help but like Daniel Mays, his face is just fantastic. Nitin Ganatra is wonderful and Riz Ahmed is flawless. I'm not sure if the film could have worked without any of them. I'd like to see them all in something a little more jolly!

This can't have been the easiest script to act, but all parties do so with aplomb. Great pace, great cast, great shots - a cohesive love laboured piece of artistry.
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7/10
'Don't go reminding me again of how brittle bone is....'
PippinInOz7 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
There are lots of things that made this film 'good' in my estimation, most of those things have been discussed by other reviewers already. For example: strong performances, some lovely cinematography etc.

But the 'thing' that really struck me about this film was the brave attempt to depict drug dealing and drug use in an unglamorous context. English crime / gangster films had moved into a comic book realm in the late 90s early 00s - courtesy of Guy Richie's thoroughly entertaining 'Lock Stock....' - I have no problems with that little genre. However - this was always a white middle class guy's romantic comic book version of drug deals and guns. This is not a criticism, as I say, the films he makes are good fun and entertaining. They are what they are.

So it is all the more wonderful to see a film like this one. The Respectable working class milieu, not everyone lives in a decrepit London (or Manchester or Liverpool) decaying block of flats with graffiti and p**s stains on the wall for example. The 's**t - shire' - nothing place. Not quite street cred enough to be 'cool' - the camera pans over rows of little houses with bins out the front, small gardens, indistinct small scale warehouses, the underpass, the quiet suburban streets. This is not London, this is not the country, this is the nowhere's ville where a larger percentage of 'us' actually come from than we care to admit at times.

The kitchen sink averageness of the cocaine addicted building site worker, the quietly observed sadness of the crack smoking old lady in her familiar looking flat, framed photograph of a daughter, grand daughter on the mantle.

It is the quietness of this film that really got to me, which made the final scenes all the more horrific and powerful. It made me think of a Billy Bragg lyric 'Don't go reminding me again of how brittle bone is.'

No rock n rollers, no sharply dressed fellas on the make. Just people, who look like people at the local shopping centre you walk past everyday.

While it is not perfect, I eagerly await the director's next film. Hats off to all the actors involved as well - not a weak link anywhere. Mr. Mays: you were sensational!

If you want to see a film that is not a post modern comic book version of life (and again, these films have their appeal for me at times) give this one a go.
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10/10
A Genuinely Solid View of the Drug Life in Ordinary Places
gradyharp16 August 2012
This little gritty film, written and directed by Eran Creevy, is being cleverly marketed for release in the US by Breaking Glass Pictures as a prescription form for drugs and nothing could be more appropriate for a film that examines the intricate manner drugs such as cocaine, crack, etc have on little sectors of England: here, instead of London, the story is set in a seedy East London/Essex border country where drugs seem to affect everyone in one way or the other.

A bright, well-schooled Muslim lad named Shifty (Riz Ahmed, in a very fine performance) who lives with his straight mature brother Rez (Nitin Ganatra) who only tries to keep his Muslim family together. Shifty is a young crack cocaine dealer with a regular clientèle - a addicted building site worker Trevor (Jay Simpson) married to a disillusioned wife (who thought he had given up drugs) with three kids, a crack smoking old lady Valerie (Francesca Annis) in her familiar looking flat, framed photograph of a daughter, grand daughter on the mantle. etc. Shifty sees his life quickly spiral out of control when his best friend Chris (Daniel Mays) returns home after an absence of several years due to a dark secret that we only learn about at film's end. 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 Glen (Jason Flemyng) intent on setting him up for a big fall. As his long time friend Chris, confronts the dark past he left behind him (nightmares abound!), Shifty is forced to face up to the violent future he's hurtling towards. And oddly it is the presence of Chris that finally, after years of remorse over a bad decision, is there for Shifty.

Much of what makes this little film work so well is the writer/director's decision to make this a series of character studies than a series of mayhem scenes. Yes, there are brutal scenes that represent the drug world as it functions on all levels, but in the final analysis it is the story of the people reacting to the drug culture - dealers, family, druggies, victims, friends, and children of all these. It is a very potent little film. The only disadvantage is that there (at this time) are no subtitles, and the various forms of English accents are at times not understandable. This is a powerful little film that delves more deeply than other films about the drug culture and its impact on society.

Grady Harp,
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7/10
Despite the over familiar subject matter - a good little film
colinmetcalfe20 February 2011
Yes, a good film, and for one made for a £100 grand a hell of an achievement. The performances were good to excellent (the Trevor character in particular was particularly convincing). I like the fact the film makers had not resorted to simplistic visuals to get the message across. For example the estate where they lived looked pretty nice and yet even with the sunshine you still felt this story was right there.

My only reservations are I didn't consider the banter was as convincing as everybody seems to think it was. But mainly it was the subject matter. Guns, gangsters, drugs, family conflict here we go again. Apparently, the original script focused on the dealer and his customers and that would have suited me more.

But if you get the chance to see it - well worth a look.
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8/10
Got any gear?.....
FlashCallahan26 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
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....

A stunning British drama that focuses on people rather than drugs, is what Shifty is all about. Having the main protagonist be a Muslim, is a marvellous move from the makers, as it adds a whole new angle, to what could have been another average Drug film.

Everyone puts in a bravura performance, and all the way through the film, you feel Shifty's 'point of no return' as you see his life start to spiral out of control.

The ending likes to think that it is cleverer than what it actually is, and it feels a little like the end of 'Silence of the lambs', but it's still an incredible film.

Funny in parts, depressing in others, it shows desperation of addicts, and also empathy for people who take drugs to escape reality, and than people facing up to reality.
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7/10
A Cracking Good Brit Grit Flick
jfcthejock18 September 2009
Well its something we Brits are good at, making gritty dramas like Adulthood and even Bulletboy. Here we return to the genre with Shifty, set in a turbulent London gangland but also those it affects who are not a part of it. Violent and shocking, but its this quality that wins it for me unlike most movies that make the young viewers want to be a part of this world this movie shows us the other side of the glamour, the guns and the power. Those we love can get entangled in it and become at risk or in danger.

To many of us that is the one drawback of this life, again a stellar cast and top notch acting that could shame some of the more poor gritty films of this calibre out there. A star film pure and simple, a great addition to British cinema.
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Street Drama
malaysian17899 May 2012
Shifty is a slow-burner that feels more like a play than an actual feature film. Made on a minute budge of £100,000, the film tells the story of Chris (Daniel Mays), a 20-something yr old who has returned to his old manor to see school mate ''Shifty'' (Riz Ahmed). Chris is now an adult with a responsible job, whereas Shifty has become a drug dealer, and still resents Chris for leaving the area in the first place. This film is remarkable for the chemistry formed between the two central characters, and the slow pace of the film adds a constant tension to proceedings, we know something ''shifty'' will happen, but where and when is anybody's guess. A brilliant and sophisticated drama, this added depth to the ''urban'' genre, also shout out to Masood from Eastenders, who gives an amazing performance in this as Shifty's older brother.
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6/10
A bit of style,not much substance, but for 100grand,pretty good
ianlouisiana24 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Just like a tyro musician who can impress with a few cool-sounding licks, young director Eran Creevey flatters to deceive in "Shifty".The neat tricks are there,the veneer of newly-learned techniques rapidly absorbed,but beneath the facade of cinematic urban grit there isn't actually much depth.The movie is yet another look at the drug underclass,all of whom,apparently,are living lives of rather noisy but cinematic desperation. Set in some hellhole (but grittily photogenic)outpost of the East London/Essex border country,it features a Muslim drug dealer as he goes about his daily business and his old schoolfriend who is trying to persuade his pal to mend his ways.They meet all kinds of strange(but grittily photogenic) characters.Er,that's about it,really. Although decidedly 21st century in content and context,"Shifty" can be traced back to "Cathy come home" from the 1960s and even earlier attempts to depict the hopelessness and misery (albeit grittily photogenic)of the lives of many inhabitants of this fair isle. Indeed it would appear that life for some is worse now than it was then but at least we've got guys like Shifty to ease our burden.Back then we left the pram outside the "Dog and Duck",drank ourselves senseless then staggered home to beat the hell out of the wife.Now,thanks to our friendly local pusher,we need never leave the privacy of our homes.Thank God for progress. It is remarkable that "Shifty" was made for £100,000.I congratulate all concerned most sincerely on their achievement.I hope Eran Creevey doesn't disappear down the black hole marked "MTV videos",I really do. However,having said all that,I would be less than honest to be praising it unreservedly.It is what it is - a promising movie debut,no more,no less.
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3/10
Flat
thebogofeternalstench10 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I've noticed this growing trend with a lot of British gangster and drama films that claim to be 'gritty and realistic' but are no where near it.

Shifty suffers from the same flaws. I'm sorry, but even the lower class of British society doesn't say 'yeh bruv' or 'mug' etc every other sentence, its so stereotypical and bloody over done.

It seems also, that Daniel Mays is a one dimensional 'actor', but really, he can't act to save his life. He has one of the most irritating faces to look at and permanently looks retarded. To me, he sounds EXACTLY like Danny Dyer, another bloke who thinks he can act. How he got a part in anything to do with Mike Leigh is beyond me.

Riz Ahmed however seems like a very capable actor but was given a completely $hit script to work with.

The whole film is just so uninteresting. I thought there would be some action and meaning to the story, but at end its like the viewer is supposed to clap their hands at Shifty's clever little stints he did to get out of his spot of bother.

Also, if he made 3 grand a week being a drug dealer, would he really be living in that $hitty flat/house with his older, old fashioned brother? I doubt it.

Another disappointing, clichéd British film.
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7/10
Mean Britian streets
kosmasp18 April 2020
Now this is obviously not just a mean streets rip off and while the director admits that Scorsese was an influence, there are also other things that played into the movie and into what we get to see. Casting Riz Ahmed in one of the lead roles is quite genius and I'd say he is quite engaging. We have another actor who is also on the main bill so to speak and he is so fundamentally different - some might be annoyed but it is quite necessary.

The movie will either grip you and get you (the drama and thrill of it, no matter how likeable the characters may seem or not) or it will annoy you because of the grittiness and their perspective and actions. Do what you know they say when it comes to filmmaking ... it could not be more true than in this case
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7/10
featuring Riz Ahmed
SnoopyStyle21 September 2017
Shifty (Riz Ahmed) is a low level drug dealer living under his older brother. His former best friend Chris (Daniel Mays) returns into his life. As Shifty struggles against a competitor in the drug world, Chris follows him around. They reconnect and confront their past.

This is a character driven indie that excels more on the character work. While I do recognize Daniel Mays, this is all about watching Riz Ahmed before his recent breakout performances. He has a great quiet intensity that surprises. When he confronts the young couple for their loud music, he has such a cold steadiness that he becomes mesmerizing. The plot isn't much and this isn't anything exceptional other some pretty compelling performances.
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6/10
Excellent low budget indie film
JohnDoe110028 March 2017
Very real look into London and the drug culture. Enjoyable watch, particularly considering the low budget! Riz Ahmet is fantastic and you can see why he went on to have such a fantastic career.

Writer/Director Eran Creevy's little gem. I am looking forward to seeing his latest project after being left slightly underwhelmed by 'Welcome to the punch'.
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3/10
Depressing Urban Dirge
gary-44430 April 2009
A valiant effort that fails due to a poor script.Any production made in 18 days for £100,000 deserves good luck.And it is not without its good points.The cinematography is excellent, the editing crisp, the shots well framed and the feel authentic rather than cheap. As Director, Evan Creevy does a good job. As a writer he is seduced into believing that a gritty, street realisation is going to be enough. It is not.Furthermore the music score appears to have been the coursework for a GCSE music student, it is that rudimentary and uninspired.

The running time of just under 90 minutes is perfect for telling a story,yet it feels like a long time.Well acted, Riz Ahmed as lead role Shifty, is convincing enough, but is let down by flat dialogue.His passing resemblance to Rio Ferdinand is further mirrored by the banality of his lines, many of which are about as compelling as a Rio post match interview.

Drug culture films are difficult to pull off.This certainly does not glorify drugs, but with no sparkling badinage, and glamour it struggles to find a place beyond a "bad day for a drug dealer".Frustratingly, two scenes dripping with potential are thrown away. When Shifty and his sidekick literally bump into an acquaintance clearly on the run from something, the drama is eschewed for a cheap laugh.Then a junkie pensioner's penchant for dead cats is again tossed away as a visual gag. Think what Tarrantino would have made of that.

Creevy's previous expertise has been in music video shoots, and it shows. Great at creating a vibe - poor at telling a story.When he finds the right creative partner we may have something to enthuse about.A talented ensemble company do their best with thin fare.I suspect that the urban multicultural ingredients here found favour to secure the Lottery Grant which helped to fund this picture.But in buying this ticket they bought a dud.
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2/10
Shifty
Angelus220 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Chris finds himself returning to his old neighbourhood to confront the past, the tragic death of a girl and the friend he left behind, who has immersed himself into a world of drugs and violence. The film follows, Chris and Shifty as they sell drugs, run from the cops and criminals.

The acting is brilliant, Riz Ahmed and Daniel Mays are fantastic in their roles, but I just found myself becoming bored of the direction of the film, the storyline, the pace, the banter in between.

British Gangster films tend to be all 'Suits and Cockney' accent tough guys, Shifty is more realistic and gritty. But unfortunately the director seems to have little grasp on the storyline, it just a random walkabout.

All in all, top class actors....poor director and screen-writer.
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The Boring Life Of A Crack Dealer
ALIZEEBUM12 August 2011
Not sure how this film has 6 out of 10 but British people tend to big up British films even if the aren't that good.

Shifty is pretty boring, slowly paced and lacking any interesting action. The DVD cover emphasises the soundtrack which is mundane.

Nothing much happens, Shifty gets chased by the police and gets mugged.He deals drugs and its not that interesting. ITV or BBC would make a drama like this. There is no grittiness. Where Shifty lives looks pretty OK to me.

I would recommend LAYER CAKE as a better drug film or HARRY BROWN for grittiness or the original GET CARTER for a real 10/10 classic.

I will not watch Shifty again and it will be going to a charity shop.

Not recommended.
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4/10
Dull, lifeless and by rote
Leofwine_draca13 September 2013
A dull and lifeless addition to the British gangster cycle. Shifty and his buddy Chris are a couple of dead-eyed deadbeats who deal drugs and spend their days either fighting with friends and family or trying to stay out of trouble. The film that follows is as depressingly grim and predictable as it is uninteresting.

One of the recurrent problems with movies like this is that the writer and director is the same person, in this case Eran Creevy. I personally believe that scriptwriting and direction are two very different beasts that require very different skills and talents. Middling efforts in both respects result in middling films. Creevy should choose one role or the other, not attempt both. Invariably these "labour of love" productions smack of self-importance and self-indulgence, as is the case here.

It's not all bad, and there are certain things in the film's favour; the camera-work is pretty decent by genre standards, with none of that blighting shaky-cam rubbish, and the pacing is pretty good; SHIFTY keeps you watching, even if it doesn't involve you. But the characterisation is so circumstantial and clichéd that it's impossible to immerse yourself in the world of the characters.

Riz Ahmed and Daniel Mays have both contributed some impressive acting in other, better films, but they're lifeless and on autopilot here. I'm not quite sure why Jason Flemyng and Francesca Annis have been cast in supporting roles that could have been played by anyone, unless it's for name value alone. It's not enough. SHIFTY is an instantly forgettable move in a quagmire of similar efforts.
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7/10
Full of fun twists
ferdmalenfant3 January 2020
I really enjoyed this one...no matter where you go, you just can't run away from your past...not without your best friend anyways. Captions may be needed for most non Brits.
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10/10
Exceptional
ali_andrew7 October 2019
This is a great film. Clever storyline with some exceptional directing. The characters feel real - like some folks you may well have known when you grew up.

As a film made for $100k it goes to show how many films waste so much money to no great effect.

Riz Ahmed and Daniel Mays excel in this film. Their terrific acting is enhanced by a brilliant and passionate writer/director.

Love the twists and turns - and the ending. For once, I didn't work out what was going to happen.

Well worth a watch.
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