Inexperienced filmmakers bite off more than they can chew with this well-intentioned but shockingly clumsy dramatisation of a true-life tragedy at Feltham Young Offenders Institution. Back in 2000, Zahid Mubarek, a British Asian teenager serving time for stealing razor blades, was murdered by his cellmate Robert Stewart, a known white racist. A government report identified 186 systematic failings behind the incident, but first-time director Anthony Petrou veers away from documentary-style analysis, and instead tries to understand the mind of the killer. Presenting both aspects of his split personality on screen, actor Leeshon Alexander plays Stewart as a weak-willed individual continually hectored by an on-screen hate-filled alter-ego. This is a serious miscalculation, since Alexander lacks the technique to bring it off, and far too much time is given to his racist invective, way beyond the point where it’s dramatically justified. We never feel that the film is endorsing this toxic viewpoint, but it proves unable to shine much light on the source of such psychotic rage. The rest of this low-budget production struggles for authenticity. Uncomfortable, unilluminating and unnecessary.
Cast and crew