Shank

"Very Good"

Shank Review


Locally produced in Bristol with an up-and-coming cast and crew, this drama is remarkably tough, constantly challenging our preconceptions. It also transcends its budget to create interesting characters and some truly harrowing situations.

Cal (Virgo) is a teenager afraid to reveal his real desires to his friends, a gang of happy-slappers who torment anyone who's different from them. Sneaking around having anonymous sex with men, Cal is terrified his gang will discover that he's gay. But he goes out on a limb to rescue the French student Olivier (Laurent) from a beating, and the two become more than friends. Meanwhile, a former one-night stand (Summers) offers Cal a way out of his violent world. But his pals Jonno and Nessa (Bott and Payne) won't leave things alone.

The real revelation here is 21-year-old director Pearce, who with his first film creates a fresh and provocative atmosphere that focuses on the characters while allowing us to feel the fierce, emotionally charged world they live in.

It's a bracingly honest approach to chav culture, capturing complexities of sex and sexuality, as well as the violence, with remarkable insight. It's rare to see a film present homophobia as honestly as this, combining paranoia with confusion and self-loathing.

This style of filmmaking also creates characters who, even though they take sides in the ensuing drama, have layers of complexity woven through their back stories. Virgo and Bott are especially good, creating a strong physicality between Cal and Jonno that suggest all kinds of issues and reveals itself in unexpected ways. And beyond their strong chemistry, they're remarkably effective in their own intensely dramatic scenes. The other standout is Payne, a star in the making who's simply astonishing as the ruthless ringleader.

The film is punctuated by some fairly intense violence, and the brutal climax is pretty hard to watch. This sequence is both full-on and overwrought, while some other scenes feel somewhat cliched. And the script is held together by rather too may coincidental connections between the various characters. But none of this weakens the film's raw depiction of youth culture. This is as exciting and urgent as street-level filmmaking gets; see it before the cast and crew are gobbled up by the industry.



Shank

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th March 2010

Distributed by: Revolver Entertainment

Production compaines: TLA Releasing

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 4.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Simon Pearce

Producer: Christian Martin, Robert Shulevitz

Starring: Wayne Virgo as Cal, Marc Laurent as Oliver, Alice Payne as Nessa, Tom Bott as Jonno, Garry Summers as Scott, Bernie Hodges as Will

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