Shifty (15)

Film

SHIFTY 2.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Apr 21 2009

Just as French realist cinema latterly needed a shot in the arm from such uncompromising, hard-edged banlieue thrillers as ‘La Haine’ and ‘L’Esquive’, so this promising writer-director debut from former commercials and pop-promos director Eran Creevy shows how a knowing eye and a sympathetic vision can reinvigorate the stale conventions of our own recent cycle of (sub)urban dramas such as ‘Rise of the Footsoldier’ and ‘Kidulthood’.

Set in the council estates of fictional Dudlowe (standing in for Creevy’s native Harlow), ‘Shifty’ traces the reacquaintance of two friends: humorously laconic Chris (Daniel Mays, excellent), visiting home for 24 hours after four long years in Manchester quietly recuperating from moral and romantic wounds inflicted by an old girlfriend; and Shifty (Riz Ahmed), an intelligent and once ambitious school pal of Chris who has become progressively hardened, boxed in and self-justifying by a life spent supplying drugs. The dealing is an occupation that Shifty is keen to keep secret from the more orthodox Muslim older brother (Nitin Ganatra) with whom he shares a house.

So far, then, all seems familiar. The scene is set for a clash of loyalties and a contrast of destinies between the sobered, returning hero and the bad egg, with the rules and tropes of the old westerns ready to be played out in the new concrete battlegrounds of our housing estates. But, some minor hiccups  aside (not least the role of Jason Flemyng as Shifty’s boss Glen), what Creevy delivers is something far more seductive, witty and involving: a non-deterministic portrait of a friendship that’s allowed to emerge organically and suggestively through the subtle, enjoyable interplay, mannerisms, body language and banter of the principals. Creevy’s fine ear for dialogue, sensitive and productive direction of actors and confident control of tone is all the more impressive for being delivered under the short schedule and tight budgetary exigencies of Film London’s Microwave initiative.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Apr 24, 2009

Duration:

85 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Eran Creevy

Screenwriter:

Eran Creevy

Cast:

Riz Ahmed, Daniel Mays, Jason Flemyng

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|8
1 person listening
martin

I loathe geezer, gangster movies. I really liked this film. A combination of performance, cinematography, dialogue and music made it work. The director has gone on to bigger things - but will always be proud of this low budget slow burner. Well worth a watch.

vel

It was such a refreshing change for someone to completely keep it real and avoid the usual obvious, unimaginitive route to cliched and tired climax. Superbly directed, with such understated and emotionally powerful acting, this kept me tense and involved from start to finish. The relationship between Daniel Mays and Riz Ahmed's characters was so organically natural and subtle. All through the film, the two of them say so much without words and you feel a genuine affection for them both. I grew up in the place that Dudlowe was based on and have known many people like those in the film. I think there are even a couple of names in there that are real. It made me feel quite proud that someone from my town created this and made me feel for the characters, without ever glamourising what was going on in any way. A great film.

vel

It was such a refreshing change for someone to completely keep it real and avoid the usual obvious, unimaginitive route to cliched and tired climax. Superbly directed, with such understated and emotionally powerful acting, this kept me tense and involved from start to finish. The relationship between Daniel Mays and Riz Ahmed's characters was so organically natural and subtle. All through the film, the two of them say so much without words and you feel a genuine affection for them both. I grew up in the place that Dudlowe was based on and have known many people like those in the film. I think there are even a couple of names in there that are real. It made me feel quite proud that someone from my town created this and made me feel for the characters, without ever glamourising what was going on in any way. A great film.

raggiodisole

cracking little film. 85 minutes just right to sum up a bad day. the way the tension was ratcheted up throughout the last third of the film was masterful.

ARCHGATE

Very engrossing from beginning to end. What makes this film work is the meloncholy soundtrack. Most directors would have gone for the easy option for the music ... Rap, drumNbass etc. The performances are excellent and the ending was a small delight. I look forward to this director's next film.

mike

Good film - tense,raw,grim and gritty, so not for the lighthearted !