Friday, 4 July 2008

Fallout on Channel 4 Last night- Review

Let me clear this up before I start. Lennie James is one of those actors that in my eyes can do no wrong, he is brilliant. He actually wrote the only film I was ever in. Lennie James in 'Burried' is as good as British television acting gets. Period.

Which is why I am so sad to report that 'Fallout' was absolutely terrible. I had such high hopes for it when I discovered that Channel 4 would be running a series on Gun and Knife crime (which has been pretty excellent overall). The screenplay was written in 2003 after Damilola Taylor was killed in North Peckham. Which could be an excuse for the dated slang and forced delivery but for the amount of times I heard the phrase "Grind me up" come from the vile female lead who it would appear was written by the biggest woman hater on the planet (oh I see) the words which had little meaning to begin with became something of a catchphrase. Add that to the male lead's "Stab him up", the supporting male's "Shoot him up" and the female supports' "Sex me up" and the only way was down.

Lennie James plays a detective forced to return to the estate he was raised on to investigate the murder of a Damilola figure. Upon his return he's tortured by the ignorance and hopelessness of his birthplace. The internal struggle James faces is pulled of brilliantly as you'd expect, his frustrations, his helplessness, his disgust. But the film was designed primarily to capture the frustrations and helplessness of the youth involved. Something it spectacularly failed to do. It tried, it really did, I counted every young character shout "Do you think you know me? You don't know me!" at least twice each.

Aml Ameen is an actor of ability and when it was left for him to carry the scene he did so with accomplishment; his character's late confrontation with a crack addicted father was probably the best and most realistic scene in the film. The very non-specific ages of our stars made for a confusing jaunt in all, the supposed criminal element consisted of a single bag snatching and a KING Magazine shoplift scene which I can tell you, does not represent any North Peckham estate as I know them (and believe me I know them. The one 'Fallout' was shot on in particular).

It would be hard for me to say where 'Fallout' failed the most because frankly I would be doing a mis justice to every other botched attempt at moral introspection thrust down our throats in those neat 15 minute intervals. Having recently seen Kidulthood for the first time and having seen the premiere of 'Top Girl' (a short film that did more to understand the subject in its 20 minutes than 'Fallout' managed in its 90) I have to say that in my opinion 'Fallout' was more than a bad film, it was an abomination.

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