Published: 7 June, 2012
by DAN CARRIER
Directed by Ben Drew
Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Stars
Ben Drew – aka Plan B – is fast becoming a motif for today, with his catchy hip-pop, his no-frills attitude and his ability to articulate the aspirations and fears of a generation.
Branching out from music into film, the result is a well paced and frequently and unpleasantly shocking journey into an east London world that sits on the doorstep of the shiny Olympic play pen.
Ill Manors weaves a series of interconnecting stories over a seven-day period in Forest Gate, where he grew up.
He says the stories that are interwoven in this looking glass-style view into a week in the lives of a London community are based on real life, things he has heard about, read about – yet it has been filtered through a Plan B prism, and while some of the characters are believable, there are a few shortcomings.
For example, a lack of strong female leads gives this a very male-centric storyline.
Riz Ahmed as Aaron, the young man trying to grow into the adult he knows he can be, deserves a special mention.
He provides a moral compass to the film, a counterweight to gangster Ed (Ed Skrein) who needs to get his stolen phone back, and hate-filled Chris (Lee Allen).
The problem is this is uncomfortable to watch, which is Plan B’s aim. I wonder if it will do for east London street crime what Trainspotting did for heroin addiction?
Ben Drew makes enjoyable, catchy music. He has shown he can switch artistic genres credibly and chronicle a section of our world that leads to perpetual hand-wringing but not concerted holistic action.