This turns on the summer its young hero (Nicholls) realises his best mate Justin (Manookian) is a yob, a drawback and, worse, a danger to himself and anyone else within shouting distance. As their adolescent pranks edge towards something more serious, should Charlie stand by his friend, or step out for himself? It's scarcely a new story - Mean Streets, anyone? - but a true story none the less. Obviously, on some imaginative level, Charlie is director Nick Love. Refreshingly, Love skips grotty realism for a brighter, breezier style, popping chroma and whip pans, more Do the Right Thing than Nil by Mouth. The tone is larky and unpretentious, a little awkward as it shifts from the localised detail of a South London estate to wide-eyed wonder at the grown-up world beyond, but the film is more than carried by its strength of feeling for the lads back then, and the men they left behind. In fact, it's those who got away who come off worst: Charlie's dad (Thewlis) and his macho-riche uncle Hector (Driscoll). Vivid stuff, true to itself, and a promising debut.
Cast and crew
Nick Love, Dominic Eames
Paul Nicholls Roland Manookian Phil Daniels Jamie Foreman Danny Dyer Dani Behr Richard Driscoll David Thewlis Sid Mitchell