Tuesday, June 24, 2008

ADULTHOOD - compelling, terrifying, British drama

Writer-actor Noel Clarke steps up to direct this sequel to the terrifying urban drama KIDULTHOOD. Once again, Clarke shows us 24 hours in the life of the thieves, drug-pushers, drug-takers and thugs of contemporary West London. Once again, this film brilliantly captures the language and concerns of a section of British society painted by the Daily Mail as generic "hoodies". There are no concessions to outsiders, and one can imagine Americans finding it hard to understand the dialect.

Six years after the events of the first film, Sam is released from prison, having served time for murdering a boy called Trife. Trife's friends want Sam dead by nightfall, and he has to run around town making apologies. Sam tried to act "big" in the first film. In the second, he faces the consequences. Indeed, the whole film is really a tour of the victims of crime. For all that, this is not an overwhelmingly grim film. Adam Deacon stands out with his hysterical, quasi-Ali G depiction of Sam's nemesis, Jay. And Clarke does indulge in a rather sentimental denouement. But I was willing to forgive this because I'd so bought in to Scarlett Alice Johnson's desperately moving portrait of damaged coke-addict.

ADULTHOOD is on release in the UK.

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