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Scarlett Alice Johnson,
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Awesome low-budget British flick gets my "best of TIFF" vote
I've been coming to the TIFF for fifteen straight years, and all I can say is "wow!" If you've seen the trailers at IMDb and YouTube and been impressed, rest assured that the movie more than delivers on what they promise.
The movie was made on a shoestring, and is quite possibly the greatest shoestring movie ever I sure can't think of any other low budget film that can touch this. If I can luck out on a rush ticket Saturday, it will be the first time I've ever seen a movie TWICE at the festival, (I have a feeling that this film will take time to reach the American market – perhaps being toned down in the process -- and I've GOT to see it again.)
This is certainly a helluva directing debut for musician Ben Drew (a.k.a. Plan B) who also wrote the pulsating soundtrack. I've never seen music more effectively tied to visuals than here, whether they're real time, time lapse, or stop action. Especially effective are transitional passages staged as rap music videos.
There's plenty of great acting too, thanks to a large talented ensemble cast of relative unknowns. Especially impressive Is Riz Ahmed as the character who bridges several interconnected stories about life on the mean streets of East London over a several day period. And in a knockout debut, young Ryan De La Cruz is incredible as a naïve 13-year-old out to buy some weed who gets transformed into a killer in a very believable way.
The realism is astounding. I've seen movies like ARGO and END OF WATCH at the fest, and while they were certainly well-made, they seem overly stagey in comparison (although, to be fair, just about ALL movies do). I voted this for best picture on my way out – I know that nothing I'm going to be seeing from this point on is going to top this.
Not for the genteel, faint-of-heart, or British accent-averse, but if you're none of the above, prepare yourself for a real treat. Never a dull moment! Feel free to base your expectations on the available trailers and videos – they don't deceive in the slightest.
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