Lurid inner city street gang films are ten a penny, but this new one from up-and-coming talent Nirpal Bhogal offers a fresh and insightful spin on a tired formula. Kayla (Aimee Kelly) is an emotionally fragile 16 year old who’s been torn away from her peers in Newcastle to join her older, wiser sister in London. She’s swiftly recruited by a hard-as-nails all-girl street gang, and it’s not long before she’s furnishing lead-pipe flavoured justice to the local rapist. Bhogal’s first big tick is awarded for understatement: the dialogue is sparse, but engaging, and he’s not afraid to let glances and silences do the talking. Secondly, it’s a film of real substance that shows a timely interest in how and why gangs materialise in certain social settings. The young acting ensemble is uniformly strong, and Bhogal doesn’t fall in to the trap of leering over the violence he’s supposed to be decrying. It’s hardly reinventing the cinematic wheel, but it does what it does very well.
Cast and crew