Star rating - 7/10
The directorial debut of the talented musician Plan B aka Ben Drew, just out on DVD, is undeniably, and perhaps unashamedly, very hard to watch. He is dealing with a world his knows much about, but it feels at times like an alphabet soup of every horrific happening in inner city East London hell - prostitution, illegal trafficking, drug addiction, bullying, gang culture, child abandonment etc. Very different to the picture painted by a certain recent sporting event in the very same location. It made me feel a bit punch drunk as one horrific scene after another unfolded.
Now in my book Plan B is a genius, his Strickland Banks character and album are just sensational, and he plainly has a serious message to give about vital issues that we should all be concerned about. In this film he uses his rapping as a very effective and novel way to give context and detail to the action.
But it does feel like being hit over the head with a badness hammer again and again and again. Possibly a little finessing and tightening of the plotline, as done so well by the likes of Andrea Arnold in Fish Tank, for example, might help with gaining a wider audience for the clearly vast creative talents of Ben Drew.
But I did like his Hitchcockian cameo appearance - I won't say as what and spoil the surprise. I certainly hope we have not seen the last of the Plan B school of directing - he obviously has a lot more to say, and his message is undeniably vital.