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Life & Lyrics

  • Film
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Time Out says

A banal set-up realised through a clichéd script, mediocre direction and shallow performances, this tower-block hip hop amalgam of ‘Hustle & Flow’ and ‘Romeo and Juliet’ doesn’t have much going for it. Danny (Ashley Walters) is an aspiring DJ-producer and leader of the Motion Crew, whose rivalry with the black-clad Hard Cash Crew is muddied by his relationship with Carmen (Louise Rose), the Hard Cash leader’s cousin. Carmen’s lega training offers an aspirational model of social mobility – but has she betrayed her passion for music? Meanwhile, Danny’s best friend Fable (Chris Steward) is going off the rails and the rap battle finals loom…

‘Life & Lyrics’ offers nothing to quicken the pulse: writer Ken Williams might have experience in urban music and youth work – parentlessness is a potent but underdeveloped theme here – but his dialogue is consistently tin-eared, and you could set your watch by the formulaic pacing. Last-minute director and TV veteran Richard Laxton struggles to bring energy even to the violent scenes and gets little help from his flat cast. Walters is a conspicuously inert central presence: there’s one shot that’s meant to show Danny wrestling with his demons and deciding the course of his life, but he looks for all the world like he’s waiting for a bus. Speaking of which, it’s illustrative of the low bar the film sets itself that its attempt to showcase London consists of literally plonking its leads on a sightseeing double-decker.
Written by Ben Walters

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Friday 29 September 2006
  • Duration:100 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Richard Laxton
  • Screenwriter:Ken Williams
  • Cast:
    • Ashley Walters
    • Louise Rose
    • Chris Steward
    • Karl Collins
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