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City of Tiny Lights (2016)

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In the teeming, multicultural metropolis of modern-day London, a seemingly straightforward missing-person case launches a down-at-heel private eye into a dangerous world of religious fanaticism and political intrigue.


Pete Travis


Patrick Neate
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Riz Ahmed ... Tommy Akhtar
Billie Piper ... Shelley
James Floyd ... Lovely
Cush Jumbo ... Melody
Roshan Seth ... Farzad Akhtar
Hannah Rae ... Emma
Antonio Aakeel ... Young Lovely
Reiss Kershi Reiss Kershi ... Young Tommy
Vincent Regan ... Tall Man / Schaeffer
Danny Webb ... DS Cal Donnely
Ram John Holder Ram John Holder ... Trinidad Pete
Damson Idris ... Hakim
Branko Tomovic ... Big John
George Sargeant George Sargeant ... Stuart
Alexander Siddig ... Al-Dabaran


'City Of Tiny Lights' is a witty gumshoe in contemporary (sub)urban London. When Asian Private Eye, Tommy Akhtar, is put on the trail of missing hooker, Sexy Russian, he begins to expose a series of dark secrets that reveal uncomfortable truths about Tommy's own past and London itself. Written by NDF International

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


People call me a snoop. They call me a lot worse. Broken marriages, missing kids. Nothing major, just the sacred and profane. See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

26 July 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Grad neupadljive svetlosti See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK


Box Office


£3,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


According to director Pete Travis, Riz Ahmed was his only choice for the lead role, and wouldn't have done the film if Ahmed had refused. Luckily, Ahmed accepted the role, and by the time the film went into production, his clout as an actor had increased dramatically. See more »


Moussa 2
By David Bradnum
De Wolfe
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User Reviews

Cinema Should Address Such Stories
5 October 2016 | by Raven-1969See all my reviews

"I deal with the lies people tell, and truths that they don't," says Tommy, a London detective. Everyone has secrets. Tommy enters the underworld of the big city in search of a missing woman. Along the way he revisits intimate betrayals, a tragic accident and an ex- girlfriend in a love triangle. Tommy struggles with his moral compass in such matters of the past. This inner struggle is worse than the storm of trouble of the outside world – which, by the way, includes terrorists, government agents, and shady real estate agents - for without knowing his heart or who or what to rely on, how can he react? What direction does he go? Who can he trust if he can't trust himself? Martin Luther King said it best, "if you don't have anything you are willing to die for, then what do you have to live for?!"

From the director of Dredd, which I loved, this film was eight years in making. "Cinema should address such stories," said the director "it takes people to wholly different place." I think what Travis is getting at is that this Pakistani detective story gives us a glimpse not only of the London underworld but also of a very different perspective than many people are familiar with. The film delightfully incorporates lessons from the game of cricket including getting in the head of opponents (as with baseball, there is not much physical activity going on in cricket, and it is more of a mental game rather than a physical challenge for participants of this sport).

It is wonderful seeing the film in a packed theater and on the big screen. As characters enter a nightclub, the seats vibrate with the throb of the base speakers kicking in. Americans do not understand why the detective doesn't have a gun, but they are illegal to possess in the U.K. There are camera shots from drones that add interesting angles to the filming location. Funny moments include a lot of escort jokes. "I'm surprised you showed up," said an escort to a detective. "Why are you surprised?" "People pay me and I don't have to come," she says. Even though the film is in English, it would be easier for North Americans to understand if there were subtitles or a phrasebook handed out at the start of the film for the wacky U.K. vocabulary! The film began with depth, energy and power, yet this promise was squandered. There were not that many twists to the story. World premiere seen at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.

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