A young Asian DJ is falsely arrested for a shooting. His sister, who has managed to escape the apparent urban trappings of East London, is forced to return and investigate the situation on her brothers behalf and soon discovers that the situation is not as cut and dry is it might seem and may go all the way up to the top, involving corrupt police and politicians.
Despite the fact that something in the region of 80% (by my own approximation) of British films that see release are urban/crime related and generally do poor business, financiers and distributors seem unshiftable in their course of pumping them out.
The latest to surface is Twenty8K, an East London based film, littered with recognisable, if not quite nameable, actors, and differs from the rest only slightly by having a female, Asian lead at its centre.
The story, written by Shameless and State of Play (both UK versions) scribe, Paul Abbott, seems quite intriguing on paper, but in reality is obvious, exposition heavy and perhaps the least intriguing urban-based thriller of the year. Clichés are around every corner in a plot that’s so cookie cutter that you can literally predict who is going to turn out to be a bad guy from the first scene they are in. The blame doesn’t entirely lie with the script though, as under more sure directorial hands than those of David Kew and Neil Thompson, something more substantial could possibly have been carven out.
That’s not to suggest that it doesn’t look good, as Twenty8K’s cinematography is one of its saving graces. At times it’s impressively slick looking even if it IS using every trick in the indie filmmaker’s handbook to create the illusion of a bigger than modest budget; which isn’t really a bad thing, just mildly irritating to the trained eye. The soundtrack too is quite good.
As stated, most of the cast are recognisable, consisting of Parminda Nagra (Bend it Like Beckham, ER), Jonas Armstrong (Robin Hood), Nicola Burley (Street Dance, Donkey Punch), Stephen Dillane (Game of Thrones, 44 Inch Chest), Michael Socha (This is England) and more, who vary from admirable, considering what they have to work with, to, well, pretty bad.
All in all Twenty8K is just a substandard film, which despite some marks of quality, smacks of a desperate need to seem cool; but as we all know, that desperation is besides the point and an instant negation. Exactly the kind of film the British industry doesn’t need.
D grade – for originality
D- grade – for storytelling
C+ grade – for visuals
C grade – for acting
Overall grade – D
Twenty8K will be available on region 2 DVD and Blu-ray from Showbox Media’s Cine Britannia range from October 1st, 2012.
Watch the trailer.